Background: Since 2002 the sick funds in Germany have widely implemented disease management programs (DMPs) for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and coronary heart disease (CHD). Little is known about the characteristics, treatment and target attainment lipid levels of these patients enrolled in DMPs compared to patients in routine care (non-DMP).
Methods: In an open, non-interventional registry (LUTZ) in Germany, 6551 physicians documented 15,211 patients with DM (10,110 in DMP, 5101 in routine care) and 14,222 (6259 in DMP, 7963 in routine care) over a follow-up period of 4 months. They received the NCEP ATP III guidelines as a reminder on lipid level targets.
Results: While demographic characteristics of DMP patients were similar to routine care patients, the former had higher rates of almost all cardiovascular comorbidities. Patients in DMPs received pharmacological treatment (in almost all drug classes) more often than non-DMP patients (e.g. antiplatelets: in DM 27.0% vs 23.8%; in CHD 63.0% vs. 53.6%). The same applied for educational measures (on life style changes and diet etc.). The rate of target level attainment for low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) < 100 mg/dl was somewhat higher in DMP patients at inclusion compared to non-DMP patients (DM: 23.9% vs. 21.3%; CHD: 30.6% vs. 23.8%) and increased after 4 months (DM: 38.3% vs. 36.9%; CHD: 49.8% vs. 43.3%). Individual LDL-C target level attainment rates as assessed by the treating physicians were higher (at 4 months in DM: 59.6% vs. 56.5%; CHD: 49.8% vs 43.3%). Mean blood pressure (BP) and HbA1c values were slightly lowered during follow-up, without substantial differences between DMP and non-DMP patients.
Conclusion: Patients with DM, and (to a greater extent) with CHD in DMPs compared to non-DMP patients in routine care have a higher burden of comorbidities, but also receive more intensive pharmacological treatment and educational measures. The present data support that the substantial additional efforts in DMPs aimed at improving outcomes resulted in quality gains for achieving target LDL-C levels, but not for BP or HbA1c. Longer-term follow-up is needed to substantiate these results.