Chronic Diseases

Researchers in the research group "Chronic Diseases":

John Sahl Andersen (research group leader)
Anna Bebe
Anni Brit Sternhagen Nielsen
Thomas Drivsholm
Frans Boch Waldorff
Jakob Kragstrup

In the group we work with chronic diseases seen from a general medicine perspective. We care about the diagnosis, treatment and course of chronic conditions such as diabetes and dementia and for the organization of and interaction between the primary and the secondary health sector. Who sees the patient at what time in the course of the disease and how is it most optimal to be treated seen from the patient’s point of view?
Patients with chronic disease often have poorer quality of life than non-chronically ill and in some cases the treatment itself is perceived as being important to the quality of life (e.g. polypharmacy, change of lifestyle). We lack knowledge about how particular the treatment of patients with more than one chronic illness most effectively can be organized both in general practice and shared between primary and secondary sector without compromising the patient's quality of life.


Dementia is a term for a wide range of disease states that are characterized by a persistent impairment of mental functions. In Denmark there are around 90,000 persons suffering from a kind of dementia, and this number is expected to increase about 50% until 2030 due to demographic change with a more aging population. Dementia is a major health problem. In Denmark dementia costs the society 9.5000000000 Danish kroner per year in direct costs. Multi-morbidity among patients suffering from dementia is a particular problem since the identification and treatment is essential in order to improve the functional ability among persons suffering from dementia. There is no information about how the treatment of patients with both dementia and multimorbidity is going on in the primary health sector and how these patient pathways are across health sectors.

We are in the process of planning 1-2 doctoral studies that will examine what impact multimorbidity has on newly diagnosed dementia patients' morbidity, death and nursing home placements. In addition, we will focus on the quality of treatment in general practice.

Furthermore, Frans participates in several national and international networks with a focus on dementia. Currently, the group has five applications for assessment in various research foundations.

Type 2 diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is a good model disease for chronic diseases, since the disease is well defined, the treat-ment is well-documented and the number of patients will continue to rise the next decade due to several senior citizens in the community. The treatment of this group of patients is a major challenge for health care - and likewise in costs a challenge for society. Currently, the quality of treatment varies considerably and generally there is a lack of continuity of care.

In the group we work with two diabetes-related projects:

DD2 (The Danish Centre for Strategic Research in Type 2 Diabetes, The group works as part of the overall DD2 project. We represent the Copenhagen part of the national general practice DD2 group, which focuses on register-based research on the part of the patient population which is primarily seen in general practice. Currently we work on the validation of data from the general practice database (DAMD) in order to combine data from DAMD and DD2. Furthermore, we work on an overall Copenhagen part protocol in order to expand the research group.

Intersectoral collaboration for patients with chronic diseases - patients with type 2 diabetes (SOK project): This research project wants to clarify about the quality of care for patients with a chronic disease can be improved by a targeted, intensified and systematic cooperation between general practice, general practice facilitators and the hospitals' diabetes clinics. The research project aims to contribute to solving the long term problems the health care sector faces in relation to offering each chronically ill patient the best available treatment, as well as to minimize the total cost of treatment of the patient population.