The researchers searched medical literature to find published research about self-management programs for arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. They looked for studies that had randomly assigned patients to receive self-management programs or to receive routine health care only. The researchers defined self-management interventions as programs that helped patients actively participate in monitoring their conditions or in decisions related to managing their conditions. They assessed whether each program involved the following: tailoring to individual patients, delivery in a group setting, delivery by the patient's usual physician, feedback, and psychological services. Then, using a technique called meta-analysis, the researchers combined the results of similar studies and explored whether certain elements of the programs were associated with better outcomes.