Objective: To systematically evaluate and synthesize published evidence regarding the effect of disease management programs for patients with diabetes mellitus on processes and outcomes of care.
Study design: Systematic literature review and meta-analysis.
Patients and methods: Computerized databases were searched for English-language controlled studies assessing the effect of diabetes disease management programs published from 1987 to 2001. Two reviewers extracted study data using a structured abstraction form. Pooled estimates of program effects on glycated hemoglobin were calculated using an empirical Bayes model.
Results: The pooled estimate of program effects on glycated hemoglobin was a 0.5-percentage point reduction (95% confidence interval, 0.3 to 0.6 percentage points), a modest but significant improvement. Evidence also supports program benefits in improving screening for retinopathy and foot lesions.
Conclusions: Diabetes disease management programs can improve glycemic control to a modest extent and can increase screening for retinopathy and foot complications. Further efforts will be required to create more effective disease management programs for patients with diabetes mellitus.