A literature review of cardiovascular disease management programs in managed care populations

J Manag Care Pharm. Jul-Aug 2004;10(4):326-44. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2004.10.4.326.


Objectives: (1) To review the literature on cardiovascular disease management programs in managed care populations, (2) compare the rigor of the studies and their findings by disease state, and (3) posit directions for future research.

Summary: A total of 20 studies conducted in managed care populations were reviewed: 5 in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), 9 in hypertensive patients, and 6 in hyperlipidemia and/or coronary artery disease (hyperlipidemia- CAD) patients. Management of CHF involved multifaceted programs that included the participation of multiple health care professionals, patient and physician education, promotion of intensive drug therapy and lifestyle modifications, and close patient monitoring. The most common CHF management strategies were case management and physician education, with an emphasis on close patient monitoring. Hypertension and hyperlipidemia-CAD intervention programs focused on chronic outpatient management and regular follow-up, with an emphasis on self-management skills. These programs were managed through regular and periodic interventions, including pharmacist-managed clinics and automated provider notices. Many of the studies employed "before-after" comparisons in the absence of a truly experimental design and posed significant limitations due to variations in the outcomes measured, lack of transparent disease severity stratification, and variation across types of managed care organizations.

Conclusion: A number of cardiovascular disease management strategies in the literature reported promising results. Many of the multidisciplinary CHF disease management programs were more complex than were programs for hypertension and hyperlipidemia-CAD, due, at least in part, to the nature and severity of the disease. A lack of agreement on appropriate economic and clinical outcomes for evaluating the effectiveness of cardiovascular disease management strategies is readily apparent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Disease Management
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / therapy
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Managed Care Programs / organization & administration*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic