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Am J Health Promot. 2010 Nov-Dec;25(2):126-33. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.091201-QUAL-377.

The impact of an online disease management program on medical costs among health plan members.

Author information

1
HealthMedia Inc, University of Michigan, 130 S. First Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA. sschwartz@healthmedia.com

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study evaluated the economic impact of an online disease management program within a broader population health management strategy.

DESIGN:

A retrospective, quasi-experimental, cohort design evaluated program participants and a matched cohort of nonparticipants on 2003-2007 claims data in a mixed model.

SAMPLE:

The study was conducted through Highmark Inc, Blue Cross Blue Shield, covering 4.8 million members in five regions of Pennsylvania. Overall, 413 online self-management program participants were compared with a matched cohort of 360 nonparticipants.

MEASURES:

The costs and claims data were measured per person per calendar year. Total payments were aggregated from inpatient, outpatient, professional services, and pharmacy payments. The costs of the online program were estimated on a per-participant basis. All dollars were adjusted to 2008 values.

INTERVENTION:

The online intervention, implemented in 2006, was a commercially available, tailored program for chronic condition self management, nested within the Blues on Call(SM) condition management strategy.

ANALYSIS:

General linear modeling (with covariate adjustment) was used. Data trends were also explored using second-order polynomial regressions.

RESULTS:

Health care costs per person per year were $757 less than predicted for participants relative to matched nonparticipants, yielding a return on investment of $9.89 for every dollar spent on the program.

CONCLUSIONS:

This online intervention showed a favorable and cost-effective impact on health care cost.

PMID:
21039294
DOI:
10.4278/ajhp.091201-QUAL-377
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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