The health economic impact of disease management programs for COPD: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

BMC Pulm Med. 2013 Jul 3:13:40. doi: 10.1186/1471-2466-13-40.


Background: There is insufficient evidence of the cost-effectiveness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Disease Management (COPD-DM) programs. The aim of this review is to evaluate the economic impact of COPD-DM programs and investigate the relation between the impact on healthcare costs and health outcomes. We also investigated the impact of patient-, intervention, and study-characteristics.

Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review to identify cost-effectiveness studies of COPD-DM. Where feasible, results were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis and explorative subgroup analyses were performed.

Results: Sixteen papers describing 11 studies were included (7 randomized control trials (RCT), 2 pre-post, 2 case-control). Meta-analysis showed that COPD-DM led to hospitalization savings of €1060 (95% CI: €2040 to €80) per patient per year and savings in total healthcare utilization of €898 (95% CI: €1566 to €231) (excl. operating costs). In these health economic studies small but positive results on health outcomes were found, such as the St Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) score, which decreased with 1.7 points (95% CI: 0.5-2.9). There was great variability in DM interventions-, study- and patient-characteristics. There were indications that DM showed greater savings in studies with: severe COPD patients, patients with a history of exacerbations, RCT study design, high methodological quality, few different professions involved in the program, and study setting outside Europe.

Conclusions: COPD-DM programs were found to have favourable effects on both health outcomes and costs, but there is considerable heterogeneity depending on patient-, intervention-, and study-characteristics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Disease Management*
  • Economics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / economics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Quality of Life