Diabetes self-management program reduces costs

A self-management diabetes program was able to reduce healthcare costs by $800, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

In response to increasing rates of diabetes, the HHS created the Healthy People 2020 initiative to improve the quality of life for people who have or are at risk of developing diabetes. In this study, researchers evaluated the impact of the Better Choices Better Health Diabetes (BCBH-D) self-management program in reducing healthcare costs.

“The intervention reported on in this study, Better Choices Better Health Diabetes (BCBH-D) program, originally developed at Stanford University, is an intensive series of 2.5-hour sessions over six consecutive weeks that has demonstrated effectiveness,” wrote first author Ralph Turner, PhD, and colleagues. “The online program contains all the elements of the small group method, except participants log in and do the work from their personal computers. Participants complete exercises read posted materials and interact virtually with others in their group. “

The study enrolled 558 patients to participate in the self-management program, comparing costs of diabetes-related conditions and disease burden to a control group of 1,669 patients. Following participation in the program, patients experienced significant reductions for diabetes related conditions, disease burden and costs savings of $815.

“We found that participants in the peer-facilitated BCBH-D program experienced reduced all-cause health care utilization and medical costs relative to the matched control group,” concluded Turner and colleagues. “Therefore, we conclude that BCBH-D and other intensive, theory-driven diabetes, self-management programs can produce important clinical changes along with related health care cost savings. The results will require replication in other commercial and noncommercial databases—in particular, the apparent indirect impact of intervention on other disease states will require prospective controlled trial research to verify them.”