Physician use of disease management programs

Douglas R. Wholey, Nina Michail, Jon B Christianson, David Knutson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper examines differences in availability, use, and perceived usefulness of disease management programs as reported by generalist and specialist physicians functioning as primary care providers in health plans. Implications of these differences are discussed in terms of the three types of purchasers: private insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid. The design is a cross-sectional mail and telephone mixed-mode survey. The data come from 23 health plans in five states (Florida, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington), including six metropolitan areas: Seattle, New York City, Miami, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Denver. The study participants are 1,244 generalist and specialist physicians who contracted with health plans as primary care providers. They were drawn from a 2001 mail and telephone survey of 2,105 generalist and 1,693 specialist physicians serving commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare patients. Physician responses about use of disease management for their patients in the health plan and how useful they thought it was were regressed on physician, physician organization, and physician-health plan relationship characteristics. While generalist physicians are likely to report having disease management programs available and using them, specialists vary greatly in their response to the disease management programs. In contrast to physicians associated with commercial plans, implementation of disease management programs among physicians associated with Medicaid plans varied across states. Primary care providers trained in generalist areas of practice are more likely than specialists functioning as primary care providers to report that disease management programs are available and to use them. They also find them more useful than do specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalDisease Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


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