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Chronic Disease Management in Rural Areas

Research center: Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 979.862.4238
Lead researcher: Miguel A. Zuniga, MD, DrPH , 979.862.4142, mzuniga@srph.tamu.edu
Project completed: April 2003
Topics: Chronic diseases and conditions
Health promotion and disease prevention
Rural populations show higher incidence of disease in a number of areas including heart disease, respiratory disease, disability associated with chronic health conditions, and obesity. Disease management (DM) is an appropriate tool to coordinate care and improve health outcomes for such populations and to reduce needs for more costly care. DM, however, has been most widely utilized in urban settings where it is promoted by large health plans interested in efficiently reaching large numbers of enrollees to reduce costs of care while improving outcomes. The goal of this project is to advance knowledge of the use of DM to address chronic conditions among rural populations. Of particular interest is information from participating health plans and providers about special challenges and effective strategies in DM initiatives targeting rural populations. Based on analysis of this information, the project team will identify issues of public policy and service management that can advance effective DM for rural populations.

Publications

  • Chronic Disease Management In Rural And Underserved Areas: Patient Responses And Outcomes
    Date: 11/2003
    Findings from site visits and interviews with six chronic disease management (DM) programs across the United States indicated DM programs were extremely important in the areas of patient health care, quality of care, and resulted in positive clinical and financial outcomes. Respondents indicated that the most important DM program was diabetes, followed closely by DM programs for congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and depression. DM programs resulted in 30% reduction in hospital inpatient stays and 17 % savings in health plan per member per month expenditures. A policy brief is also available. Report available on request.
  • Chronic Disease Management In Rural Areas
    Date: 05/2004
    Describes a study of six chronic disease management programs throughout the United States. Discusses issues related to chronic disease management in rural areas. Report available by contacting the Center.