The impact of chronic disease self-management programs: Healthcare savings through a community-based intervention


Background: Among the most studied evidence-based programs, the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) has been shown to help participants improve their health behaviors, health outcomes, and reduce healthcare utilization. However, there is a lack of information on how CDSMP, when nationally disseminated, impacts healthcare utilization and averts healthcare costs. The purposes of this study were to: 1) document reductions in healthcare utilization among national CDSMP participants; 2) calculate potential cost savings associated with emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations; and 3) extrapolate the cost savings estimation to the American adults. Methods. The national study of CDSMP surveyed 1,170 community-dwelling CDSMP participants at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months from 22 organizations in 17 states. The procedure used to estimate potential cost savings included: 1) examining the pattern of healthcare utilization among CDSMP participants from self-reported healthcare utilization assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months; 2) calculating age-adjusted average costs for persons using the 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey; 3) calculating costs saved from reductions in healthcare utilization; 4) estimating per participant program costs; 5) computing potential cost savings by deducting program costs from estimated healthcare savings; and 6) extrapolating savings to national populations using Census data combined with national health statistics. Results: Findings from analyses showed significant reductions in ER visits (5%) at both the 6-month and 12-month assessments as well as hospitalizations (3%) at 6 months among national CDSMP participants. This equates to potential net savings of $364 per participant and a national savings of $3.3 billion if 5% of adults with one or more chronic conditions were reached. Conclusions: Findings emphasize the value of public health tertiary prevention interventions and the need for policies to support widespread adoption of CDSMP. © 2013 Ahn et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Publication Title

BMC Public Health