Background: The effectiveness of multiple interventions in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is unclear.
Objective: To examine the effectiveness of multiple interventions as compared to single interventions or usual care on health outcomes and health care utilisation within the context of integrated disease management in asthma and COPD.
Methods: MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library (1995-May 2008) were searched for controlled trials. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality. Meta-analyses were performed on quality of life and health care utilisation data. Furthermore, the effects of multiple interventions versus single interventions and usual care were assessed qualitatively.
Results: Of the 36 studies included, 17 targeted double interventions (patient-related and organisational interventions); 19 studies performed triple interventions (patient-related, professional-directed and organisational interventions). They were heterogeneous in terms of (combinations of) interventions, outcomes measured, study design and setting. Pooled data showed that studied disease management programmes significantly improved quality of life on several domains. Patients within triple intervention programmes had less chance of at least one hospital admission compared with usual care. No significant effects were found in number of emergency department visits. Qualitative analyses revealed positive trends on process improvements and satisfaction. Inconclusive results were reported on symptoms; no effects were found in lung function.
Conclusion: In spite of the heterogeneity of disease management studies in asthma and COPD care, this review showed promising improvements in quality of life and reductions in hospitalisations, especially for triple intervention programmes.