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Want to Offer Disease Management the Right Way? Here's One Way

Posted Dec 02 2008 3:08am
Figuring many readers of the Disease Management Care Blog haven’t necessarily been keeping up with the DMAA and its alliance with the HealthSciences Institute, it asked Blake Andersen, PhD to provide an update. The HSI is offering a ‘Chronic Care Professional' (CCP) Certification Program for health care professionals providing disease management services.

In the opinion of the DMCB, this makes sense. Contrary to what many may believe, the art and science of disease management has long evolved past giving a nurse a phone with a list of patients who have diabetes and saying ‘go to it!’ There really is a sublime and emerging complex science behind getting patient-consumers to do the right thing. The HSI has – in the opinion of the DMCB – found a secret sauce that develops that expertise for nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, respiratory therapists and others.

Of course that secret sauce is also part of the competency of the well-managed disease management organizations. The DMCB has toured some of them and has been impressed with the rigor of their orientation and ongoing staff development programs. They do it so well that many not only regard it as a core competency but as a proprietary competitive advantage. For individuals and other organizations without that those kinds of resources, the DMCB thinks HSI is a good option, and that’s not just because I am on the Advisory Board.

As other entities, including physician groups, want to get into the population-health business, this certification program could meet an important need.

Blake’s update is reproduced below. Even a cursory reading reveals the depth of the science behind disease management. He also shares his insights on the basis behind integrating competency-based programs like CCP in the fabric of the sponsoring organization’s overall strategy:

In September 2007, the HealthSciences Institute agreed to co-brand with DMAA and jointly promote the Chronic Care Professional (CCP) certification program to member organizations. The CCP program has been selected by over ten BCBS affiliates along with several of the mid-size DM companies who are now using the program to onboard new employees and/or requiring it for staff. We’re also doing on-site programs for several other health plans and health systems this year, including Kaiser Permanente. We are continuing to work with several U.S. States and Provinces in Canada to deliver the program regionally and are in early discussions with a few other international partners. We have three national pre/post conference sessions set-up this year—the DM Colloquium in May, CMSA in June and DMAA in September. We’re working on conference on the west coast for later in the year as well.

Although we’ve been impressed with some of the employee development programs that have developed by some of the larger players, I believe we really need to look at what other industries have done in the areas of human resource and workforce development. The one lesson I took away from my time with Andersen Consulting’s strategic human resources group was the importance of integrating workforce development with strategy, process and technology. Obviously we’re moving into a new environment in health care and still most health care professional training and continuing education programs are still not competency-based. I think most of the organizations that we work with are pleased to see that the CCP program that is based on a competency model and that we have brought in the right instructional and eLearning design people. I think we assume that nurses will simply pick up disease management interventions such as behavior change facilitation and health coaching on the job, which they may do, but it’s not really a very efficient way of operating. We did a national survey with DMAA in late 2007 and found that still over half of surveyed DM organizations and health plans require no prior experience or training in disease management or case management. So we see many opportunities for improvement.

In 2008, we will also be working with a group from DMAA to explore new options for delivery of the CCP program and better integration with the larger DMOs and health plans. We have new advisory board members from Healthways and Aetna, so we’re looking forward to working with them. We see the program as complementing what they have done in terms of employee onboarding and development. One of our advisory board members, Dr. Robert Luke, is professor of eLearning from one of the Universities in Canada and he has helped us explore some additional options for blended learning and knowledge sharing. We’re also developing a Senior Health Support certification program aimed at improving senior care in partnership with one of the largest long-term care organizations in the US. We’re hoping to pilot something this year with the State of Minnesota.

The other big development is the upcoming release of version 4.0 of the CCP program in May. We have doubled the content focused on patient partnering, behavior change facilitation and health coaching. We have also added new content on adherence support, cultural competence, health literacy improvement, complex case management, and addressing co-morbid physical and psychological issues. My background is health psychology and there is a wealth of research that is still not widely applied in health care and disease management. We have also updated all evidence-based guideline summaries for 25 chronic diseases and conditions. We have incorporated four years of feedback from participating organizations and individuals—together with data we received from our 2007 national professional development survey with DMAA as well. We piloted the new program this month with about 100 case managers and partners from a Minnesota health plan and we received good feedback so we’re excited.

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