Background: Case management is an important component of structured and evidence-based primary care for chronically ill patients. Its effectiveness and efficiency has been evaluated in numerous clinical trials. This protocol describes aims and methods of a systematic review of research on the effectiveness and efficiency of case management in primary care.
Methods/design: According to this protocol Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsychInfo, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled trials, DARE, NHS EED, Science Citation Index, The Royal College of Nursing Database, Dissertation Abstracts, registers of clinical trials and the reference lists of retrieved articles will be searched to identify reports on randomized and non-randomized controlled trials of case management interventions in a primary care setting without limitations on language or publication date. We will further ask experts in the field to avoid missing relevant evidence. Study inclusion and data extraction will be performed independently by two reviewers. After assessing risk of bias according to predefined standards, included studies will be described qualitatively. Subgroup analyses are planned for different chronic diseases and intervention strategies. If appropriate, a quantitative synthesis of data will be performed to provide conclusive evidence about the effectiveness and efficiency of primary care based case management in chronic care.
Review registration: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (University of York): CRD32009100316.