Creating a Chronic Care Management Patient Brochure: 7 Topics to Cover

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Creating a Chronic Care Management Patient Brochure: 7 Topics to Cover
by Lucy Lamboley

Research supports that educational brochures placed and targeted at the right audience can provide great benefits. Since printed brochures are often available at in-person visits, they can facilitate patient interest, generate helpful questions, and encourage patients to initiate important conversations with their healthcare providers about treatments or services, such as chronic care management (CCM), that they otherwise may not have known about.

Many practice administrators and practitioners may argue that patients would prefer to look up information online, and while this may be true for a lot of patients, printed materials like brochures still do a great job at reaching patients, particularly those who are accustomed to paper documentation.

Furthermore, considering how easy it is to create electronic documents, a well-designed brochure can be both printed and distributed electronically, such as via email, a message through an EMR patient portal, downloadable from an organization's website, and through a hyperlink in a text message that then loads the brochure on a smartphone.

If your organization has already established a CCM program or is planning to do so, a chronic care management brochure can be an effective tool for educating patients about your service and getting them interested and engaged.

Building An Effective Chronic Care Management Brochure

Since CCM is a newer concept for some healthcare consumers, it's important that supporting materials are relatable and grab their attention. A good chronic care management brochure for patients should discuss the most important aspects they should know about before they begin participating in the program and receiving CCM services.

To help you create an effective chronic care management brochure for your patients, here are seven areas to include.

1. Chronic care management definition

Before diving into details about your CCM program, consider providing a definition for chronic care management — preferably one that is not wordy and riddled with industry jargon. In other words, define CCM in simple terms that any patient should be able to understand.

A few examples include:

  • Chronic care management is care that is most often managed by the physician primarily treating your chronic condition(s) [primary care, cardiologist, endocrinologist, other specialist] and coordinated across all your healthcare providers.
  • Chronic care management is used to treat your chronic health conditions.
  • Chronic care management helps ensure that you receive the care you need when you need it, wherever you are and without extra trips into the office.
  • Chronic care management allows you to connect with your healthcare providers more frequently over the phone or internet, making the care you receive more effective, quicker, and easier.

2. Chronic care management eligibility

Even though a practitioner generally knows who qualifies for chronic care management, patients often will not. Educating patients on their potential eligibility may motivate them to inquire about participation in a CCM program and increase their interest in participating. One way to defining eligibility is as follows:

  • To be eligible, you must consent to participation in a chronic care management program and have two or more qualifying chronic conditions that are expected to last at least 12 months and pose a significant risk to your health.

Including a list of common qualifying health conditions might help facilitate a conversation between you and your patients. Such a list might include heart disease, COPD, dementia, asthma, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. Be sure to let patients know to talk to you if they don't see their specific condition listed.

3. Time commitment

Patients can be hesitant to add another layer of activity to their life. For this reason, it's important to highlight that chronic care management may reduce the number of trips to your organization and make their life more convenient, all while helping improve their health and wellness. Since chronic care management can be conducted over the phone or internet, the service provides patients with more frequent care and interactions with their healthcare team without requiring more frequent in-person trips to an office. In fact, CCM can help reduce the number of in-person visits required for healthcare services.

Note that the length of program participation depends on the status of the patient's chronic health condition, and they may need to consent and re-enroll every new calendar year.

4. Cost of chronic care management

Most Americans are worried about the cost of healthcare. While chronic care management is covered by Medicare (80% covered, 20% coinsurance) and other plans, there may be some out-of-pocket costs for patients. It's important to be upfront with the patient about potential costs.

When developing your brochure, it may be best to note to patients that the service is covered by Medicare and typically incurs minimal out-of-pocket cost. Encourage them to talk to a representative from your organization to give them a more personalized breakdown of estimated costs.

To avoid discouraging the patient from participation, it might be useful to quickly highlight how participation may save them money with less frequent office visits, fewer emergency room visits, better medication control, and less frequent hospitalizations. In fact, a recent study showed that in-home chronic disease management services may have decreased healthcare spending for patients with certain chronic conditions by nearly $30,000.

5. Who is involved

Highlight who will be on the patient's chronic care management team. Who else will their provider coordinate with along the continuum of care? Will specialists be involved? Who is the point person or advocate within your organization to address patient questions and concerns about enrollment?

The takeaway for patients should be that together, the healthcare team will function as a support network, helping patients get the right care they need, when they need it.

6. How chronic care management helps achieve healthcare goals

Simply put, what will the patient gain by participating in chronic care management? Because of reading comprehension barriers, it might be good to keep this piece short and incorporate graphics or use a simple bulleted list. Take into account your patient population and be mindful of whether information should be provided in multiple languages. In healthcare, we know the benefits of CCM participation are numerous and affect everyone from practitioners to patients to even payers, but patients, who are understandably most concerned about their own personal healthcare goals, should understand CCM gives them access to a wider range of resources within an extensive support network to help them live their healthiest lives.

7. Getting started with chronic care management

What is the first step for patients to enroll in your chronic care management program? Do they need to initiate a conversation with their primary care provider? Is there an onsite program coordinator or patient care advocate, such as a nurse case manager, they should speak to? The clearer the process, the more likely it will be that the patient will seek out the service or may even refer a loved one.

Most importantly, your chronic care management brochure should make the idea of enrollment and participation in your CCM program feel simple and worthwhile.

Chronic Care Management: Meeting Patients at Their Level

When creating the content for your brochure, it's imperative that you keep the information simple and easy to follow. As the American Academy of Family Physicians notes, the average American adult reads and comprehends at about an eighth-grade level and more than one-third of American adults read below a fifth-grade level, thus making the use of clear, basic language an essential component of any targeted educational material. To avoid distracting or even deterring patients, your brochure should avoid the use of medical jargon and extensive details, keeping the document easy to read and understand for everyone regardless of their reading and comprehension level. Also, using a conversational tone that's directed at the patient will help get and keep them engaged in the brochure and its contents.

While you want to include essential information about your program in your chronic care management brochure, such as the areas highlighted above, the brochure should still be relatively short in content length and avoid using long-worded paragraphs. The content should highlight what patients must know so they gain a basic understanding of CCM and your program and incorporate bulleted lists, graphics, and other design elements to help with education and engagement. Remember, providing just enough information to stimulate interest and facilitate a conversation with you will work best for patients and your program.

Read the Guide: Building a Successful Chronic Care Management Program

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