Using Telephone Support to Manage Chronic Disease

John D. Piette, Ph.D.

This report, aimed at clinicians and health care managers, describes the benefits and challenges of telephone care programs. It also reviews research studies on their clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

June 2005

This report, aimed at clinicians and health care managers, describes the benefits and challenges of telephone care programs. Such programs can monitor patients' status between visits; deliver patient education or other counseling; send appointment reminders; and facilitate peer support and referrals for coping with illness.

The report reviews research findings on the clinical effectiveness as well as cost-effectiveness of telephone care programs. While the picture is not yet complete, there is some evidence that telephone-based patient education can improve chronic disease outcomes and help patients become more effective advocates for their own care. Research findings on cost-effectiveness are less conclusive, according to the report.

Specifically, the report addresses:

  • How telephone care services can contribute to improved patient care;
  • Characteristics of effective programs;
  • Which patients are most likely to benefit from telephone care;
  • How to integrate telephone care services into systems of care; and
  • How to evaluate programs and identify areas for improvement.

The full report is available under Document Downloads.