Disease Management: Better care, but not much savings

January 18, 2008

Disease management programs generally do right by patients, but there's no evidence that they save money over the long term, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

Disease management programs generally do right by patients, but there's no evidence that they save money over the long term, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation. "People take for granted that these programs work and save money, because the concept is very plausible," says Soeren Mattke, the report's lead author.

The study looked at various disease management programs and their effect on six chronic conditions: congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Despite the paucity of evidence related to savings, disease management programs improved patients' health for four out of six conditions, even though most of the studies reviewed by Mattke and his colleagues followed patients only for about a year. (Data on asthma and COPD were inconclusive.)