Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Heart Failure Health Center

Font Size

Heart Failure: Disease Management Programs - Topic Overview

Many hospitals and insurers have developed disease management (DM) programs to educate people who have heart failure about their disease. Disease management includes a broad range of health services, such as home health care, visiting nurses, and rehabilitation. The goal of DM programs is to offer a combination of treatment, complication prevention, and education in a variety of settings.

Although it is a relatively new concept, studies and reports suggest that DM programs offer two main benefits:

Recommended Related to Heart Failure

Understanding Heart Failure -- Prevention

Drug therapy to lower blood pressure has been shown to reduce heart failure rates by 40%-60%. Reducing blockages in the coronary arteries with anti-cholesterol drugs has been shown to reduce heart failure rates by 30%. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart-valve abnormalities can prevent heart failure caused by chronic volume overload of the heart's left chamber.

Read the Understanding Heart Failure -- Prevention article > >

  • People receive more customized treatment.
  • DM programs may reduce the overall cost of heart failure care by reducing the need for hospital stays.

How do DM programs work?

A range of providers and health plans focus on the following three aspects of heart failure treatment.

  • Patient education: Teaching people about heart failure and how they can prevent progression of their condition
  • Proper monitoring: Educating people on how to notice a flare-up of symptoms or a change in their symptoms of heart failure
  • Decision support: Helping people decide when they should make a doctor appointment versus when to visit an urgent care center

To achieve these goals, heart failure disease management programs usually provide a wide variety of services. These services can include dietary consultations, health assessments, medicine information, weight-loss help, sodium/fluid management, and exercise programs and facilities. One of the main benefits of disease management is that it can be delivered by case managers and program coordinators right in your own home.

The main reason for DM programs

DM programs aim to decrease the chance of sudden flare-ups of symptoms. The most expensive part of heart failure treatment is the treatment of sudden (acute) flare-ups of symptoms. If an acute flare-up happens, you will often be hospitalized, your drug regimen will usually be changed, and the number of times that you see a doctor will increase. Acute flare-ups can often be prevented by making lifestyle changes and adjusting your medicines.

Are there DM programs everywhere?

DM programs continue to gain popularity in hospitals and through large health insurers. But they still are not available at every hospital or through every health plan. If you are interested in taking part in an organized DM program, ask your doctor or nurses about any programs for which you might be eligible. Many people with heart failure find these programs to be very useful and informative.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Heart Failure: Disease Management Programs Topics

Today on WebMD

Compressed heart
Article
Salt Shockers
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
Slideshow
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW
 

Mechanical Heart
Article
Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
Slideshow
 
Atrial Fibrillation Guide
Slideshow
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 

Compressed heart
Article
FAQ Heart Failure
Article
 
Cholesterol Confusion
Health Check
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections