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Health Policy. 2008 Dec;88(2-3):176-85. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2008.03.009. Epub 2008 Apr 28.

Disease management programmes for patients with coronary heart disease--an empirical study of German programmes.

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  • 1Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management, Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.



To evaluate healthcare and outcomes of disease management programmes (DMPs) for patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) in primary care, and to assess selection of enrollment for these programmes.


A cross-sectional survey of 2330 statutorily insured patients with a history of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) was performed in 2006 by the population-based KORA Myocardial Infarction Register from the region of Augsburg, Germany. Patients enrolled in DMP-CHDs receive evidence-based care, with patients not enrolled receiving standard care. To control for selection bias, a propensity score approach was used.


Main factors influencing DMP participation were age (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96-0.99), diabetes (OR 1.56, CI 1.25-1.95) and time since last heart attack (OR 0.98, CI 0.95-0.99). Significantly more patients enrolled in DMP-CHDs stated that they received medical counselling for smoking (OR 3.77, CI 1.07-13.34), nutrition (OR 2.15, 1.69-2.74) and for physical activity (OR 2.58, 1.99-3.35). Furthermore, prescription of statins (OR 1.58, CI 1.24-2.00), antiplatelets (OR 1.96, CI 1.43-2.69) and beta-blockers (not significant) were higher in the DMP group. With respect to outcomes, we did not see relevant differences in quality of life and body mass index, and only a minor reduction in smoking.


Enrollment into DMPs for CHD exhibits systematic selection effects. Participants tend to experience--at least on a short to medium term and for AMI patients--better quality of healthcare services. However, since DMP-CHDs were initiated only 2 years ago, we were unable to identify significant improvements in health outcomes. Only the reduction in smoking provides a first indication of better quality outcomes following DMP-CHD. Thus, policy-makers must provide appropriate incentives to sickness funds and physicians in order to ensure initiation and continuation of high quality DMPs.

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