Program tries new recruiting approach

Will targeted messages attract participants?

As your disease management programs mature, measuring outcomes that demonstrate their success may not be enough to help you enroll more participants or attract new clients.

The Asthma Self Management Program (ASMP) has proven its worth. Twelve-month outcomes for the program developed by Glaxo Wellcome Care Management in Research Triangle Park, NC, showed a return of $1.85 for every dollar invested. That figure doesn’t take into account indirect cost savings due to reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.

Program shows results

The program includes eight hourlong asthma education sessions. Not only did the 12-month outcome study prove that participants significantly reduced their use of the health care system for asthma-related problems, it also showed they improved their productivity and general well-being. (For specific outcomes data, see box, p. 35. For a more detailed description of the ASMP program, see Case Management Advisor, January 1998, pp. 10-12.)

"We know the program works. What we’re changing now is the way we recruit and retain patients," says Mark Santry, director of the respiratory management group for Glaxo Wellcome Care Management.

"We commissioned research to help us understand what motivates people to participate in disease management programs and incorporated what we learned into our recruiting materials and methods," he explains.

The new materials are tailored to the program’s target audience, he notes. "We’ve identified people as high utilizers’ or light utilizers’ based on their use of the health care system. The new recruiting messages are targeted to appeal to potential participants based on their use of the health care system."

Glaxo Wellcome also has changed the media it uses to reach potential ASMP participants. "We’ve moved away from print and video messages to a telephone outreach approach. We use both live and passive outreach," he adds, explaining that "passive outreach" includes the announcement of a toll-free number participants can call for additional information about ASMP.

Most of the evidence that this new, more tailored approach is working has been anecdotal, he says. "We think the impact has been significant and will continue to show increases in participant recruitment and retention."

Tailored outcomes, too

Glaxo Wellcome also applies a tailored approach to the outcomes reports it prepares for its customers. "If I’m an employer, I want to hear about productivity and absenteeism, not just health care utilization. We’ve employed a number of instruments so that we can provide a wide range of outcome variables that apply to most of the customers we serve," Santry explains.

In addition to utilization data, Glaxo Wellcome measures SF-36 results for each participant and a functional status instrument that measures improvements in productivity. Outcomes for each participant are measured before their first ASMP class, after their last ASMP class, at three months after completing the class, at six months, and at 12 months.

Letting the customer decide

"We tailor our outcomes presentations based on our preliminary implementation meeting with the client. Maybe all they want to hear is how many hospital admissions there have been," Santry says. "If that’s the case, that’s what we report back. We let the customer dictate the level of detail based on internal needs, but the data is there if they want it."

Glaxo Wellcome also provides dedicated World Wide Web sites so customers can access data at any time. "The Web site is maintained by a data warehousing organization. Glaxo Wellcome doesn’t have access to it. We only see aggregate reports," he explains.

Customers can visit the Web site and select the report they want to view from a table of contents. "They can get on the Web and see that John Doe attended ASMP classes one, two, five and six. They can check John Doe’s utilization. That level of detail is available, if the customer wants it."