Chronic Conditions and Multimorbidity

Multimorbidity – the simultaneous coexistence of more than one chronic condition - is common, particularly in older adults with prevalence estimates of 65-98% for those greater than 65 years of age.

The treatment of such chronic conditions accounts for up to 75% of all health care expenditure in the US. In Europe chronic conditions are estimated to account for 70-80% of health care expenses in countries such as Denmark and comprise 8 of the top 11 causes of hospital admission in the United Kingdom. With the exception of relatively uncommon conditions, the majority of visits for care for both an indicator condition and any co-exisiting conditions are made to primary care physicians, not specialists. The impact of the gatekeeping role of primary care on healthcare utilisation merits further consideration.

In order to increase the quality of care delivered to patients and reduce spiraling healthcare costs, there is a need to focus on coordinating and connecting the patient's care journey through the healthcare system while also promoting 'self management' among all patients with chronic disease. Primary care is the ideal setting for such a process to take place.