Improving the care of patients with multiple conditions requires many different groups to work together. Apart from individual clinical teams coordinating their activities in empowered partnership with each patient, we will need clinical professional organisations and patient organisations to work together. They will have to establish and promote good practices in empowering patients and supporting them in contributing to their own health care and meeting their health goals.
IT systems need to be better connected so that they can ensure that every clinician caring for a patient is aware of the other clinicians involved, caring for other conditions which the patient has, their activities including prescribing, and their care plans. Clinical guideline developers, and those involved in clinical research, need to examine the implications on the treatment of each condition if patients have other conditions and treatments at the same time. Educating and support patients better, and coordinating care, take time and it is important for public health authorities, health ministries and health insurers to ensure that the reimbursement to healthcare organisations enable these staff to have adequate time to invest in care collaboration. This is an important investment of time and should not be squeezed into everyone’s already pressurised workloads.
Healthcare regulatory bodies, the clinical research community and industries such as pharma need to be encouraged to more strongly prioritise multi-morbidity in their research and drug development strategies. We need much more scientific evidence of how drugs interact and which combinations of drugs are the safest and most effective for each combination of conditions.
This is a call to action for all stakeholders connected with healthcare and clinical research, to put multi-morbidity at the forefront of their strategies, so that we can together provide a more effective and safer healthcare service to the growing number of people with multiple health conditions and on multiple medications.