The disease management approach to cost containment

Nurs Case Manag. 1998 May-Jun;3(3):99-103.


Disease management has been around a long time, certainly since Pasteur. Its initial focus was to eliminate or contain epidemics. In the 20th century, American public health scientists and officials have used disease management to address a high-risk, often poor population. Currently, the population-based principles of disease management, including disease prevention activities, are being applied to noninfectious diseases. Two examples of public health disease prevention strategies are vaccinations and chlorination of water. Hospitals are now providing post-hospital disease management programs for selected chronic conditions that account for a high volume of repeat admissions or emergency department visits, such as chronic heart failure, asthma, and cancer. In other words, hospitals are spending money on a program that, if done right, will reduce their inpatient revenues. They are doing so for various reasons (e.g., because they have established at-risk financial partnerships with their physicians, or possibly because other area hospitals are doing it, or possibly because they want to keep the ancillaries [x-rays, laboratory, pharmacy, ambulatory surgery, etc]). Regardless of the reasons, hospital case managers will be charged with referring qualified patients to both hospital-based and provider-based disease management programs.

MeSH terms

  • Case Management / economics
  • Case Management / organization & administration*
  • Chronic Disease* / economics
  • Chronic Disease* / therapy
  • Cost Control
  • Disease Management*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Risk Factors
  • United States