Commercially run disease management programs did not improve cost or quality in NEJM study

Commercially run disease management programs did not improve quality of care or lead to significant cost savings, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the study, patients with diabetes and heart failure were assigned to usual care, or one of eight commercially run disease management programs, which use nurse-based call centers to assess the needs of patients and health coaches to target those at high risk of adverse events. 

The results showed only modest improvements in quality of care measures, and no consistent reductions in emergency room visits or readmissions. The authors note that the cost of running the programs cost more than the programs saved.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, November 7, 2011; New England Journal of Medicine, http://www.nejm.org, November 3, 2011)