Intercountry Consensus Building: Lessons From Developing a Chronic-Conditions Self-Management Support Framework

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Self-management support initiatives that aim to improve the self-care of chronic conditions are considered a key part of a health promotion strategy for addressing the impacts of long-term illness. Given the growth of these activities and still evolving evidence base, thoughtful intercountry collaborations with subject matter experts can be an effective way to expedite building self-management support capacity, promoting the advancement of evidence, and developing effective policies and programs. The challenge is to find an effective consensus building process that promotes linkages between researchers and health promotion decisions makers across vast geographical boundaries and limited resources. This paper describes the international, multistage, face-to-face, and online process that was used for developing an international framework for self-management support by researchers, educators, health care providers, policy makers, program managers/directors, program planners, consultants, patient group representatives, and consumers in 16 countries. We reflect on key lessons from this international initiative and discuss how this type of process may be useful for other health promotion groups trying to exchange knowledge and build consensus on how to move a field of research, policy, and/or practice forward, and advance the evidence-base of practice and the relevance of research.

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