Outcomes and cost effectiveness of treating type 2 diabetes with a nurse case manager following treatment algorithms versus primary care physicians

Etta L Fanning, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Diabetes places a significant burden on the health care system. Reduction in blood glucose levels (HbA1c) reduces the risk of complications; however, little is known about the impact of disease management programs on medical costs for patients with diabetes. In 2001, economic costs associated with diabetes totaled $100 billion, and indirect costs totaled $54 billion. Objective. To compare outcomes of nurse case management by treatment algorithms with conventional primary care for glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetic patients in a low-income Mexican American community-based setting, and to compare the cost effectiveness of the two programs. Patient compliance was also assessed. Research design and methods. An observational group-comparison to evaluate a treatment intervention for type 2 diabetes management was implemented at three out-patient health facilities in San Antonio, Texas. All eligible type 2 diabetic patients attending the clinics during 1994–1996 became part of the study. Data were obtained from the study database, medical records, hospital accounting, and pharmacy cost lists, and entered into a computerized database. Three groups were compared: a Community Clinic Nurse Case Manager (CC-TA) following treatment algorithms, a University Clinic Nurse Case Manager (UC-TA) following treatment algorithms, and Primary Care Physicians (PCP) following conventional care practices at a Family Practice Clinic. The algorithms provided a disease management model specifically for hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and microalbuminuria that progressively moved the patient toward ideal goals through adjustments in medication, self-monitoring of blood glucose, meal planning, and reinforcement of diet and exercise. Cost effectiveness of hemoglobin AI, final endpoints was compared. Results. There were 358 patients analyzed: 106 patients in CC-TA, 170 patients in UC-TA, and 82 patients in PCP groups. Change in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was the primary outcome measured. HbA1c results were presented at baseline, 6 and 12 months for CC-TA (10.4%, 7.1%, 7.3%), UC-TA (10.5%, 7.1%, 7.2%), and PCP (10.0%, 8.5%, 8.7%). Mean patient compliance was 81%. Levels of cost effectiveness were significantly different between clinics. Conclusion. Nurse case management with treatment algorithms significantly improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, and was more cost effective.

Subject Area

Health care|Biostatistics|Nursing

Recommended Citation

Fanning, Etta L, "Outcomes and cost effectiveness of treating type 2 diabetes with a nurse case manager following treatment algorithms versus primary care physicians" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131260.