HR Glossary

What are Disease Management Programs?

As chronic diseases are among the biggest challenges of the American healthcare system, learn how disease management programs support employees and, at the same time, reduce costs for employers.
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Chronic diseases affect six out of ten adults in the United States, and they are among the biggest challenge of the American healthcare system. Disease management programs reduce costs and help manage the course of the disease.

What are Disease Management Programs?

As the name suggests, disease management programs (DM) offer guidance to help people effectively manage their chronic conditions, and are often deployed through apps, online resources, telephonically, and/or text messaging. 

High medical costs coupled with the lack of education are discouraging to many of those affected. Disease management programs aim to empower and help patients regain a sense of control over their health and well-being. 

In an effort to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes, these programs offer personalized medical advice and counsel, complementing more traditional treatments.

They also help connect participants to local support groups, offer self-care consultation, and use various assessment tools to keep track of the progress and treatment of the disease.

What are Common Chronic Conditions & Comorbidities?

  • Diabetes and prediabetes (DPP) care. 
  • Cancer. 
  • Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Obesity management. 
  • Behavioral health. 
  • Heart disease. 
  • Asthma. 
  • High blood pressure. 
  • Mental health. 
  • Stress. 
  • Arthritis. 
  • Hypertension.
  • COPD. 
  • High blood pressure. 
  • Multiple sclerosis. 
  • Musculoskeletal pain. 
  • Chronic kidney disease. 
  • Epilepsy.

What are the Benefits of Disease Management Programs?

A key benefit for the member is access to easy-to-use technology to track and manage symptoms.

Devices like glucose meters, blood pressure cuffs, and heart rate monitors, make it easier to track and make a personalized plan on how to treat the disease.

By logging symptoms and keeping track of this data, the medical professionals  supporting the member can get a better understanding of the status of the disease.

Many programs will remind participants of upcoming doctors’ visits, or recommend scheduling one if they see a need for it.  

For employers, disease management programs can provide cost savings by providing resources and support to the members of their population that are higher-cost claimants due to their multiple chronic conditions.  

These savings can result from improving adherence to the medications members should be taking, providing members with a support network of clinical personnel, and educating them on lifestyle changes that can be made to improve their quality of life.

What is the Goal of Disease Management Programs?

The primary goal of disease management programs is to improve the quality of care and thereby reduce healthcare costs. 

These programs do not aim to cure the disease, but rather teach the patient how to self-manage it and prevent it from worsening.

The objective is to educate participants on their condition with the help of coaches and online resources and to set obtainable targets on nutrition, exercise, sleep, and other self-care measures.

By combining technology with expertise and education, the participants will have the right tools to manage their condition. 

Is Health Coaching the same as Disease Management?

The key difference lies in the fact that health coaching is available to anyone wanting health and wellness guidance, whereas disease management programs are focused on members who have been previously diagnosed with a chronic condition.  

According to the CDC, heart diseases alone are causing $138 billion in lost productivity on the job. Chronic conditions make employees less engaged and productive, so employers stand to gain numerous benefits by providing employees access to these programs.

Written by shortlister editorial team

Chronic Condition Programs

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