The process of coordinating and managing a person’s health in a way that helps improve quality of life while preventing or minimizing a disease’s effect in the most cost-efficient manner. Concerned with common, chronic illnesses, disease management focuses on providing quality of life, integrative care, and reducing future complications.
Most health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and point of service (POS) health insurance plans cover at least one disease management program, as well as more than half of employer-sponsored health policies. By doing so, direct insurance costs can be reduced, and resources provided more efficiently so those affected can seek needed treatment at the lowest possible cost to the insurer.
A growing part of health insurance expense, an estimated $600 million, was spent on disease management in 2002, an amount that’s said to be growing annually.