Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The disease management program for type 2 diabetes in Germany enhances process quality of diabetes care - a follow-up survey of patient's experiences

Ingmar Schäfer1, Claudia Küver1, Benjamin Gedrose1, Falk Hoffmann2, Barbara Ruß-Thiel3, Hans-Peter Brose4, Hendrik van den Bussche1 and Hanna Kaduszkiewicz1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Primary Medical Care, Center of Psychosocial Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany

2 Centre for Social Policy Research, Division Health Economics, Health Policy and Outcomes Research, University of Bremen, Ausser der Schleifmuehle 35-37, 28203 Bremen, Germany

3 ife Gesundheits-AG, Gut Nehmten, 24326 Nehmten, Germany

4 Department of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology, Center for Experimental Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:55  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-55

Published: 3 March 2010



In summer 2003 a disease management program (DMP) for type 2 diabetes was introduced on a nationwide basis in Germany. Patient participation and continuity of care within the DMP are important factors to achieve long-term improvements in clinical endpoints. Therefore it is of interest, if patients experience any positive or negative effects of the DMP on their treatment that would support or hamper further participation. The main objective of the study was to find out if the German Disease Management Program (DMP) for type 2 diabetes improves process and outcome quality of medical care for patients in the light of their subjective experiences over a period of one year.


Cohort study with a baseline interview and a follow-up after 10.4 ± 0.64 months. Data on process and outcome measures were collected by telephone interviews with 444 patients enrolled and 494 patients not enrolled in the German DMP for type 2 diabetes. Data were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression analyses.


DMP enrolment was significantly associated with a higher process quality of care. At baseline enrolled patients more often reported that they had attended a diabetes education course (OR = 3.4), have ≥ 4 contacts/year with the attending physician (OR = 3.3), have at least one annual foot examination (OR = 3.1) and one referral to an ophthalmologist (OR = 3.4) and possess a diabetes passport (OR = 2.4). Except for the annual referral to an ophthalmologist these parameters were also statistically significant at follow-up. In contrast, no differences between enrolled and not enrolled patients were found concerning outcome quality indicators, e.g. self-rated health, Glycated hemoglobin (GHb) and blood pressure. However, 16-36% of the DMP participants reported improvements of body weight and/or GHb and/or blood pressure values due to enrolment - unchanged within one year of follow-up.


In the light of patient's experiences the DMP enhances the process quality of medical care for type 2 diabetes in Germany. The lack of significant differences in outcome quality between enrolled and not enrolled patients might be due to the short program duration. Our data suggest that the DMP for type 2 diabetes should not be withdrawn unless an evidently more promising approach is found.