Institute of Medicine report examines ways to reduce chronic illness

A new report from the Institute of Medicine recommends that in order to better treat and prevent chronic disease in the U.S., collaboration among the public health, health care, and community sectors is needed.

The report was requested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the nonprofit Arthritis Foundation to help identify public health actions to reduce disability and improve the function and quality of life for people living with chronic illness, which has become a health epidemic in the U.S.

Other recommendations from the report include:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services support the states in developing comprehensive, population-based strategic plans with specific goals, objectives, actions, time frames, and resources that focus on managing chronic illness.
  • Federal and state governments should expand surveillance and mitigation programs to the widest possible range of chronic illnesses.
  • Using surveillance techniques that are likely to capture multiple chronic conditions effectively, for example, the CDC should conduct longitudinal evaluations to identify and quantify the effects of various risk factors that could predict how a given illness will progress over time and how having a single chronic disease increases the odds of suffering from additional ailments.

(Sources: AHA News Now,, February 1, 2012; The Institutes of Medicine,, January 31, 2012)