Chronic disease accounts for 7 of every 10 deaths in the United States and more than 75% of total healthcare costs. Among people 65 years old and older, over 92% suffer from one or more chronic diseases. By 2020, it is estimated that 48% of the total population will have chronic disease.

In an article published in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers discuss how existing healthcare delivery models are poorly constructed to manage chronic disease, and how a reengineering of the healthcare system might offer some hope in meeting this challenge.

The current U.S. model for delivery of chronic disease care rests with the primary care physician. The authors note that with a median length of a physician visit of less than 15 minutes, there is little time to address the root causes of many chronic diseases, such as poor nutrition and physical inactivity. Even when lifestyle modification advice is provided by the physician, patient adherence rates are disappointingly low.