Disease management refers to the process and people concerned with improving or maintaining health in large populations. It is a system of coordinated healthcare intervention, services, and managed care.1
Disease management is focused on chronic diseases that are defined as long-term diseases, which develop slowly over time, often progress in severity, and require special therapy. Disease treatment can usually be administered through the application of remedies to a patient, but the diseases are generally non-reversible and may significantly impair an individual’s ability to perform daily living activities. Examples of common chronic diseases are: coronary heart disease, kidney failure, bleeding disorders, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, back problems and other chronic conditions.
Worldwide, chronic diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of death and disability. Non-transmissible diseases now account for 59% of the world’s 57 million annual deaths, and 46% of the global burden of disease.2
According to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, although chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health problems facing Canadians, they are also among the most preventable. A small group of modifiable behaviours and intermediate biological factors such as physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco, alcohol, hypertension, high cholesterol, and being overweight can account for a substantial proportion of chronic disease (see Figure 1). For example, a tobacco-free society would prevent more than 90% of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all other cancer deaths. With healthy eating, regular exercise, and not smoking, up to 90% of type 2 diabetes, 80% of coronary heart disease, and one-third of cancers can be avoided.
1. Disease Management. (n.d.) Retrieved January 23, 2014 from Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease_management_%28health%29
2. Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. (May, 2007). Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease: Ontario’s Framework. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/cdpm/pdf/framework_full.pdf