The Disease Management Association of America launched an effort to establish an industrywide standard for measuring the financial and clinical outcomes of disease-management programs. The trade group said it will work with several public and private standards-setting organizations to develop a uniform measurement system, which the organization plans to unveil in early December. The move comes in response to growing demands by employers and other payers that disease-management vendors build a better business case for their programs. The economic value of disease management was thrown into question in October 2004, when the Congressional Budget Office released a report concluding that there was "insufficient evidence" to prove disease management actually saved money. "Our experience shows disease management works, but lack of agreement on how to measure that success has hampered our ability to convince skeptics," said the group's executive director, Tracey Moorhead. New measurement tools will help "erase any doubt that disease management benefits patients and payers alike," Moorhead said.
Separately, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., announced a new subsidiary to offer disease-management services to self-funded employers, unions and government. The KP Healthy Solutions unit was created in response to requests from large customers, Kaiser said. The unit will provide a variety of disease-management services, including health coaching via telephone, patient education and physician support. -- by Laura B. Benko