Integrated Disease Management: A Critical Review of Foreign and Portuguese Experience

Anabela Coelho, Cláudia Leone, Vanessa Ribeiro, Pedro Sá Moreira, Gilles Dussault


Introduction: The present article reviews findings from empirical evaluations of integrated disease management programmes. The objective is to provide insights on integration levels, priority interventions and their effect on patient outcomes.
Material and Methods: The literature review identified 1 251 articles, published from 2006 to 2011. Upon a detailed screening 61 articles were selected for bibliometric analysis and critical discussion.
Results: Among several findings, it can be noted that United States of America is the country with the highest amount of published evidence on the subject under study. The most frequently referred disease is diabetes mellitus and the main reported issue of integrated disease management is self-management support. The majority of the studies were developed and exclusively managed by managed care organizations, organized family doctors or hospitals. From a total of 360 interventions reported in studies, patient interventions are the most frequently used across all disease groups, followed by professional interventions. To monitor the effectiveness of the disease programmes, the most frequently used outcomes are patient physiological measures, service use and patient health status.
Discussion: Every country has its own way to implement the integrated disease management strategy. The focus of practice lies on patient empowerment, particularly through self-management. Physiological measures and service use are the outcomes with the highest rate of assessment, which are also the indicators that show higher impact among all integrated disease management programmes.
Conclusion: The Portuguese health care system still faces challenges in the coordination and integration of care for patients with chronic disease thus improvements at integrated disease management programmes should be incorporate.


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