Helping Patients Manage their Chronic Conditions Between Visits

As the medical community becomes aware of the universal occurrences of chronic illness, more physicians are realizing that the patients’ role in their health is a huge factor in their outcomes. Self-care and self-management are contributing to positive outcomes for many patients. Helping chronic patients effectively control their diseases between visits is crucial to improving their health outcomes.


Educating patients is an important aspect of any medical practice, but it is essential in setting them up for success. When educating your patients, take advantage of technology because it’s made materials more accessible and easier for patients to understand. Determine their learning style and find out what works best for them. Be sure to include family members and caregivers. Involving them will greatly increase positive outcomes. Educating patients and their families can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding elements of healthcare. And giving them quality education and instruction will dramatically improve outcomes.

Focus on healthy habits.

Unhealthy behaviors are key risk factors for chronic diseases. Patients need constant and positive encouragement to change these behaviors and make lifestyle improvements. Reminding them of this at their appointments is extremely important, but they will need reminders between visits as well. Ensure that your practice has a good website with an informative blog. Make sure you also have a strong social media presence and encourage your patients to follow along. Regularly post tips and good resources for your patients.


A practice’s ability to interact with patients inside and outside of the office will play a huge role in building a strong patient-provider relationship. Developing strong communication between visits will nurture this relationship and will help keep patients engaged. It will also nudge them to take control of their health and chronic condition between visits.

Regular visits.

Regular and planned visits are imperative to keeping your chronic patients on track. Make sure they are getting their visits scheduled beforehand and make sure they are showing up. Ensure you are using effective reminders for your patients and that they are tailored to fit their needs. In our modern era, you should not have blanket style reminders. Ask your patients which method they prefer and then contact them that way.

We hope these tips help you find new ways to connect with and engage your patients outside of the office! If you have any other success stories, be sure to let us know via our Facebook page.

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
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