for Quality Project, 2002). The diabetes telemedicine collaborative in New York State (IDEATel, 2002) is a randomized controlled trial supported by CMS and others. It involves 1,500 patients, half of whom participate in home monitoring (using devices that read blood sugar, take pictures of skin and feet, and check blood pressure), intensive education on diabetes, and reminders and instructions on how to manage their disease.
The changing clinical needs of patients have important implications for government quality enhancement processes. These processes and the health care providers they monitor should be capable of assessing how well patients with chronic conditions are being managed across settings and time. This capability necessitates consolidation of all clinical and service use information for a patient across providers and sites, a most challenging task in a health care system that is highly decentralized and relies largely on paper medical records.
Patient-centered care is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensures that patient values and circumstances guide all clinical decisions (Institute of Medicine, 2001). Informed patients participating actively in decisions about their own care appear to have better outcomes, lower costs, and higher functional status than those who take more passive roles (Gifford et al., 1998; Lorig et al., 1993, 1999; Stewert, 1995; Superio-Cabuslay et al., 1996; Van Korff et al., 1998). Most patients want to be involved in treatment decisions and to know about available alternatives (Guadagnoli and Ward, 1998); (Deber et al., 1996; Degner and Russell, 1988; Mazur and Hickam, 1997). Yet many physicians underestimate the extent to which patients want information about their care (Strull et al., 1984), and patients rarely receive adequate information for informed decision making (Braddock et al., 1999).
Patient-centered care is not a new concept, rather one that has been shaping the clinician and patient relationship for several decades. Authoritarian models of care have gradually been replaced by approaches that encourage greater patient access to information and input into decision making (Emanuel and Emanuel, 1992), though only to the extent that the patient desires such a role. Some patients may choose to delegate decision making to clinicians, while patients with cognitive impairments may not be capable of participating in decision making and may be without a close family member to serve as a proxy. Patients may also confront serious constraints in terms of covered benefits, copayments, and ability to pay (discussed below under benefits and copayments)
The recently released physician charter by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, the American College of Physicians-