The term "chronic care" typically is applied to health care services provided to patients with chronic medical conditions. However, if chronic care is used to describe "a planned, longitudinal, continuous and coordinated, forward-looking approach to providing health care and promoting health and well-being" it can equally well be applied to preventive care, for at its best, preventive care addresses health beliefs and behaviors with lifelong consequences. Evidence suggests that for neither chronic medical care nor preventive care is the health care system achieving desired outcomes. These failures may be ascribed in part to the system itself--its history, design and financial incentives.
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