Background: Disease management programs are reported to improve clinical and quality-of-life outcomes while simultaneously lowering healthcare costs.
Objective: To examine the effectiveness of disease management in improving health-related quality of life (HRQL) among patients with heart failure beyond 12 months.
Methods: A total of 1069 community-dwelling patients 18 years and older in South Texas with echocardiographic evidence of congestive heart failure were randomly assigned to disease management, augmented disease management, and control groups. They were followed up 18 months. Patients in the control group received usual care. Patients in the intervention groups were assigned a registered nurse as a disease manager who performed telephonic patient education and medication management. Health-related quality-of-life data (based on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey [SF-36]) were collected 4 times, at 6-month intervals.
Results: Disease management has a limited effect on HRQL. Analysis of the SF-36 health transition measure showed a positive effect of the intervention on self-reported improvement in health at 6 months and at 12 months (P = .04 and P = .004, respectively). However, no effect of disease management was observed across any of the SF-36 components. Women and patients with diastolic heart failure had poorer HRQL scores.
Conclusions: Participation in disease management has little effect on HRQL outcomes in congestive heart failure. Beneficial effects on the SF-36 scale scores seen at 6 and 12 months were not sustained. Therefore, it is unclear whether disease management can provide long-term improvement in HRQL for patients with congestive heart failure.