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Effective Health Care Program

Outpatient Case Management for Adults With Medical Illnesses and Complex Care Needs: Future Research Needs

Systematic Review

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Archived: This report is greater than 3 years old. Findings may be used for research purposes, but should not be considered current.

This report is from AHRQ's series on Future Research Needs Projects.


In 2010, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) charged the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) with conducting a review to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of outpatient case management (CM) as an intervention strategy for chronic illness management. The aims of the review were to assess the evidence pertaining to the effectiveness of CM in improving patient-centered outcomes, quality of care, and resource utilization in adults with chronic medical illness and complex care needs. It also evaluated the effectiveness of CM based on patient and intervention characteristics.

After synthesizing the results from 109 studies, the original Comparative Effectiveness Review (CER) concluded that, while there were a number of approaches to CM matching the review's definition and scope, the interventions had limited impact on patient-centered outcomes, quality of care, and resource utilization among patients with chronic medical illness. Nevertheless, the review was able to identify some clinical settings in which CM had positive (though modest) effects on these outcomes.

The objective of this Future Research Needs (FRN) project was to engage a range of stakeholders and combine their insight with the results of the CER and a scan of the recent literature and studies in progress. Drawing from all these sources we sought to identify and prioritize topics for future research that could inform health care decisionmaking and policy regarding CM.