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Health systems around the world are grappling with how best to provide high-quality care to the growing numbers of people now living with one or more long-term conditions, while at the same time bending the health care cost curve. Policy attention has thus far centered on three approaches: restructuring health care (with emphasis on primary care, population health, and accountable care organizations), supporting financial reform (for example, moving from fee-for-service to capitation- and value-based models), and encouraging greater personal responsibility for prevention and care through policies designed to encourage self-management.

We believe that online health communities of people with chronic conditions, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes, have a major role to play in promoting illness self-management. Furthermore, we contend that the “superusers” of these communities are particularly important in realizing their potential. ….more