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Identifying potentially cost effective chronic care programs for people with COPD

Authors Steuten L, Lemmens K, Nieboer A, Vrijhoef H

Published 22 December 2008 Volume 2009:4 Pages 87—100


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

L M G Steuten1, K M M Lemmens2, A P Nieboer2, H JM Vrijhoef3

1Maastricht University Medical Centre, School for Care and Public Health Research, Department of Health, Organisation, Policy and Economics, Maastricht, The Netherlands; 2Erasmus University Medical Centre, Institute of Health Policy and Management, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; 3Maastricht University Medical Centre, School for Care and Public Health Research, Department of Integrated Care, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Objective: To review published evidence regarding the cost effectiveness of multi-component COPD programs and to illustrate how potentially cost effective programs can be identified.

Methods: Systematic search of Medline and Cochrane databases for evaluations of multi-component disease management or chronic care programs for adults with COPD, describing process, intermediate, and end results of care. Data were independently extracted by two reviewers and descriptively summarized.

Results: Twenty articles describing 17 unique COPD programs were included. There is little evidence for significant improvements in process and intermediate outcomes, except for increased provision of patient self-management education and improved disease-specific knowledge. Overall, the COPD programs generate end results equivalent to usual care, but programs containing ≥3 components show lower relative risks for hospitalization. There is limited scope for programs to break-even or save money.

Conclusion: Identifying cost effective multi-component COPD programs remains a challenge due to scarce methodologically sound studies that demonstrate significant improvements on process, intermediate and end results of care. Estimations of potential cost effectiveness of specific programs illustrated in this paper can, in the absence of ‘perfect data’, support timely decision-making regarding these programs. Nevertheless, well-designed health economic studies are needed to decrease the current decision uncertainty.

Keywords: chronic care management, COPD, cost-effectiveness, review

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