Meaningful conversations in living with and treating chronic conditions: Development of the ICAN discussion aid

Kasey R. Boehmer, Ian G. Hargraves, Summer V. Allen, Marc R. Matthews, Christina Maher, Victor M. Montori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The needs of the growing population of complex patients with multiple chronic conditions calls for a different approach to care. Clinical teams need to acknowledge, respect, and support the work that patients do and the capacity they mobilize to enact this work, and to adapt and self-manage. Tools that enable this approach to care are needed. Methods: Using user-centered design principles, we set out to create a discussion aid for use by patients, clinicians, and other health professionals during clinical encounters. We observed clinical encounters, visited patient homes, and dialogued with patient support groups. We then developed and tested prototypes in routine clinical practice. Then we refined a final prototype with extensive stakeholder feedback. Results: From this process resulted the ICAN Discussion Aid, a tool completed by the patient and reviewed during the consultation in which patients classified domains that contribute to capacity as sources of burden or satisfaction; clinical demands were also classified as sources of help or burden. The clinical review facilitated by ICAN generates hypotheses regarding why some treatment plans may be problematic and may not be enacted in the patient's situation. Conclusion: We successfully created a discussion aid to elucidate and share insights about the capacity patients have to enact the treatment plan and hypotheses as to why this plan may or may not be enacted. Next steps involve the evaluation of the impact of the ICAN Discussion Aid on clinical encounters with a variety of health professionals and the impact of ICAN-informed treatment plans on patient-important outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number514
JournalBMC health services research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 23 2016


  • Communication
  • Minimally disruptive medicine
  • Multiple chronic conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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