, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 299-326
Date: 07 Oct 2012

Overview of Disease Management Approaches

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Corporations have engaged in sponsorship of health management programs and, more recently, disease management programs to facilitate healthy and productive work environments. The purpose of this review is to examine the health and financial outcomes from these corporate-sponsored disease management programs. This article focuses on seven diseases or chronic conditions (arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and migraine) that potentially impact employee productivity (both in time away from work and in loss of effectiveness at work) and health status including medical and pharmaceutical utilization and costs.

Corporate-sponsored disease management programs typically focus on education and screening for selected diseases or chronic conditions. Partnerships have been formed with health plans and third-party program providers to reach employees with interventions and treatment. The typical outcome measures from these programs have primarily been clinical indicators and medical utilization. Measures of productivity need to be incorporated as important outcome measures for disease management programs.

The estimated financial opportunity for the corporation is a reflection of the cost differential for a given disease and the prevalence of that disease within the employee population. Primary diseases, chronic conditions, and health risks contribute to increased medical utilization and decreased productivity within the corporation. Promoting programs that focus on the whole person, including health risks, chronic conditions, and diseases, will likely increase the possibility of success in helping the employee to better self-manage their health conditions and consequently provide gains for both the individual and the corporation.