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J Asthma. 2010 Aug;47(6):674-9. doi: 10.3109/02770900903556421.

Effects of a german asthma disease management program using sickness fund claims data.

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Centre for Social Policy Research, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany.


The purpose of this study was to assess outcomes of a nationwide asthma disease management (DM) program in Germany. A retrospective observational study with propensity-score matching was performed using claims data of sickness funds exclusively. Effects were analyzed on the basis of a match of 317 program participants and nonparticipants with similar propensity score and age. Hospitalization or oral corticosteroid user rates were comparable in both groups, whereas there are significantly more subjects in the DM group with a prescription of an inhaled corticosteroid and fewer with a prescription of a cromolyn/reproterol combination. There are also less "doctor hoppers" in the DM group, defined as subjects with antiasthmatic drug prescriptions of at least three physicians. The results suggest that the impact of a nationwide disease management program for asthma is weak in respect of clinically relevant endpoints, but there are indications that medication in a DM program approximates asthma guidelines more closely.

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