This study aims to examine patients' patterns of health care utilization before and after participation in a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). We conducted a pre-post study using health care administrative data from 186 individuals in the Ottawa region who participated in our CDSMP between September 2009 and January 2011. We collected the number of general practitioner/specialist visits, planned/unplanned emergency department visits, and hospitalizations, measured 6 months and 1 year before and after participation in the CDSMP. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify associations between patient characteristics and pre-post CDSMP health care utilization. CDSMP participation showed no effect on number of physician visits, hospitalizations, or emergency department visits. Individuals with > 5 chronic conditions were more likely to visit a physician and the emergency department following the CDSMP than those with 1 chronic condition. Among individuals > 61 years of age, those with the marital status widowed were more likely to visit their physician and the emergency department following the CDSMP than married individuals. To conclude, the CDSMP appeared not to decrease health care utilization. Low baseline utilization rates, short-term follow-ups, and a relatively healthy patient population may have contributed to the program's low impact.
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Chronic diseases and conditions
Health care utilization
Emergency department visits