Multiple Chronic Conditions
More than a quarter of all Americans—and two out of three older Americans—are estimated to have at least two chronic physical or behavioral health problems. Treatment for people living with these multiple chronic conditions (MCC) currently accounts for an estimated 66 percent of the Nation's health care costs. As the U.S. population ages, the number of patients with MCC continues to grow. This mounting challenge has become a major public health issue that is linked to suboptimal health outcomes and rising health care costs.
View a short animated video about “A Day in the Life” of Mae, a woman living with multiple chronic conditions.
Above is one section of an infographic about the importance of investing in care for people with multiple chronic conditions. Select for the full infographic (PDF File, 6.484 MB). (Select for an easily printable version; PDF File, 12.495 MB.)
As part of its ongoing effort to improve care for patients with MCC through evidence-based research, AHRQ has funded the AHRQ MCC Research Network. The Network aligns with a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) effort to address MCC issues. In December 2010, HHS issued its new “Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions,” designed to further research that will address the challenges of MCC. (For more information, go to: Improving Health for Individuals With Multiple Chronic Conditions: Recent Actions by HHS Agencies.)
AHRQ's efforts directly help to implement a key goal of the HHS Strategic Framework: to increase clinical, community, and patient-centered health research on MCC. For a full inventory of HHS programs, activities, and initiatives on improving the health of individuals with MCC, visit http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/mcc/mcc-inventory-20111018.pdf.
What Are the Objectives of AHRQ's Multiple Chronic Conditions Research Network?
AHRQ's MCC Research Network aims to improve understanding about interventions that provide the greatest benefit to MCC patients, the safety and effectiveness of interventions that may be affected by MCC, and interventions that may need to be modified for specific patient populations. Over time, this foundational research can begin to help our country meet the needs of Americans living with MCC.
What Is Being Done by the AHRQ MCC Research Network?
The MCC Research Network includes 18 original grants funded in 2008 (two of which received additional funding in 2009), 27 grants funded in 2010 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and a Learning Network and Technical Assistance Center designed to support the overall effort. Collectively, the AHRQ MCC Research Network works to advance the field of MCC research, provide needed guidance for clinicians and patients, and advise policymakers about improved methods to measure and promote quality care for complex patients. The details of the projects funded by AHRQ are as follows:
- Eighteen exploratory and developmental (R21) grants funded in 2008 to begin addressing the gap in knowledge about patients with MCC, with a focus on the use of preventive services. Additional funding in 2009 was awarded to two of the original 18 grantees to support collaborative activities.
- Fourteen exploratory (R21) grants funded in 2010 to use existing data to conduct comparative effectiveness research for patients with MCC. This research will help prioritize testing and treatments for these patients and suggest adaptations to currently recommended preventive and care management guidelines.
- Thirteen infrastructure development (R24) grants funded in 2010 to create new datasets for improved examination of care for patients with MCC. Each project also includes a pilot study to demonstrate the use of its newly developed infrastructure. Datasets will be made available to interested researchers and other stakeholders when these grants are completed.
- A Learning Network and Technical Assistance Center (the Center) to encourage collaboration among the MCC investigators and provide them with support, including assistance with preparing datasets for dissemination and archiving and with translating research findings for policy audiences. The Center is staffed by Abt Associates, the MacColl Center for Healthcare Innovation, and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.
- MCC Research Network Data Archive. The AHRQ MCC Research Network Data Archive houses data and related material for the study of people with multiple chronic conditions. The Web site includes MCC related datasets created by investigators in the AHRQ MCC Research Network and other researchers:
- Information about how to find and access, MCC datasets that are archived elsewhere (not at ICPSR).
- Documentation and other materials related to the datasets.
- A library of shared code related to MCC research.
- Literature and publications related to AHRQ research grants.
Access the archive at: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/AHRQMCC/.
- Additional resources.Other materials developed by the Network are also available, including a special supplement in the journal Medical Care, a chartbook on MCC, and a conceptual model of care for patients with MCC.