Exploring Disease Management Programs for Diabetes Mellitus: Proposal of a Novel Hybrid Model
Kerri L. Cavanaugh
Richard O. White
Russell L. Rothman
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic illness that affects the world on an epidemic scale. It requires complex healthcare and considerable economic resources. Diabetes disease management programs use a variety of strategies to improve clinical outcome measures and reduce costs. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of these programs on reducing glycosylated hemoglobin levels, improving cardiovascular risks, and reducing utilization of services. However, the most effective components of disease management strategies or combination of strategies remain unknown. This narrative review explores the components, impact, benefits, and barriers of current diabetes disease management models and also presents a novel hybrid model incorporating elements of both on-site and off-site programs. On-site disease management programs include strategies characterized by unique patient identification and evaluation, implementation of intervention methods, on-site health provider team members, and specific environmental resources. Advantages of this model include the face-to-face encounter between patients and providers, the proximity of the healthcare team members to facilitate ease of communication and build independence and trust between patients and providers, and technology resources, such as the electronic medical record. A number of clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of on-site diabetes disease management programs. However, because of the methodological limitations of many studies, further studies are needed to confirm such findings. Barriers to the implementation of on-site programs may include patient population characteristics such as complexity of co-morbid illness and social stressors, including low health literacy, that require adaptation of the disease management model. In comparison, off-site disease management programs utilize administrative resources to identify patients with chronic illnesses. Other key elements include the evaluation of clinical care practices using established guidelines with auditing and feedback to providers based on their performance, and the use of reminders for both patients and providers to influence better processes of care. This process is often independent of the traditional on-site care delivered directly by providers. A hybrid disease management model that incorporates both on-site and off-site disease management components could be the ideal model for optimizing care of patients with chronic illness. The suggested hybrid model incorporates many features of previous models of disease management but gives a new construct that can be customized to different clinic settings, provider practices, and patient populations, including patients with other complex chronic illness. This hybrid model could be applied to a variety of individual or multiple chronic illnesses. This model would engage both on-site healthcare providers and support staff along with off-site administrative staff and electronic medical data to provide patients optimal care while potentially reducing overall costs.
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