Even if at the moment a standard notion of Disease Management doesn’t exist, since the concept is relatively new and still in an evolution phase, it is possible to summarize it as a systematical approach to the global management of a disease, through the application of integrating prevention and treatment interventions. It must be underlined that the aim is not only the “management” of the disease, but the concept of health itself. Therapeutical guidelines are used to coordinate the various interventions.
The aim of Disease Management is to limit, during a period of time, the damages on health provoked by diseases and so to improve the life expectations and/or quality and to increase the economic efficiency of care action. Today, care supply is fragmentary. Each health service component is treated as a separate element of cost centre.
The advantage offered by a management logic characterized by Disease Management is not to singularly evaluate each health system component but to give a leading role to prevention and compliance in the acute treatment of a chronic disease. As a consequence, there will be no cost reduction of a single component of the care action in comparison with the increase of expenses for the greater costs of another.
Diseases affecting a great number of patients either imply high costs for the patient or are particularly appropriate for Disease Management approach because the possibility to manage the link of all interventions requires a beginning cost, justified in the presence of a certain number of patients. What follows is that this program obtains a cost-benefit relation financially sustainable in the presence of average high costs per patient, since the costs of the program are supported by possible savings within the whole care process.