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Medical practices can save costs by adopting certain features of the patient-centered medical home model of health care, according to new research by Dr. José Pagán, Director of NYAM’s Center for Health Innovation, and colleagues from the University of North Texas Health Science Center published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
Patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are showing promise as a novel way to improve health care quality while keeping health care cost growth under control. Through coordinated, team-based approaches to health care delivery that are tailored to address the needs of individual patients via enhanced communication, PCMHs shift the focus of health care delivery from the system level to the patient level.
This study points out the need to identify how individual PCMH features impact health care expenditures across different policy-relevant categories. Practices that have not fully adopted a PCMH model can still make progress in improving quality and controlling costs by adopting even some modest features of the PCMH model.
“Clinics can always take baby steps—like answering the phone—and make a difference in primary care quality and future cost savings, even if they don’t have the resources to meet all the standards for patient-centered medical home accreditation or recognition through the Joint Commission or NCQA, for example,” Dr. Pagan said.
This study looked at the impact of individual features of the PCMH care model on next-year health care expenditures including outpatient, inpatient, emergency department, pharmacy, and total health care expenditures among Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older. Among its findings were significantly lower expenditures associated with ease of contacting the regular source of care over telephone during regular business hours and having a regular source of care with office hours at night or on weekends.
Stockbridge EL, Philpot LM, Pagán JA. Patient-centered medical home features and expenditures by Medicare beneficiaries. American Journal of Managed Care 2014;20(5):379-85. (View abstract and full text)
Posted on June 20, 2014
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