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Benefit of Disease Management Programs Remains Unclear

23 March 2011 Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

It is not clear whether disease management programs (DMPs), which are expensive and involve a great deal of documentation, improve medical outcomes for participants. Roland Linder’s working group present their results in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108[10]: 155–62).

In 2009, DMPs in Germany cost around 1.1 billion euros; the larger part of this related to the DMP for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

The authors investigated whether the T2DM DMP resulted in medical benefit for patients. To do this, they analyzed data from a total of about 5.5 million persons continuously insured between 2006 and 2008 with the statutory health insurer Techniker Krankenkasse. The aim was to find out whether diabetes-related conditions and emergency inpatient admissions became less frequent in persons in the DMP.

Taken all round, there was no clear indication that taking part in the DMP led to any medical benefit. Patients who participated in the study even had more prescriptions filled, had more doctor contacts, and used healthcare services more than those who did not.

On the basis of their results, the authors conclude that the T2DM DMP as currently practiced in Germany should be discontinued.

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