Guided care reduces cost of health care for older persons with chronic conditions

Aug 07, 2009

The nation's sickest and most expensive patients need fewer health care resources and cost insurers less when they are closely supported by a nurse-physician primary care team that tracks their health and offers regular support, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The research, published in the American Journal of Managed Care, found that in the first eight months of a randomized controlled trial, patients in a primary care enhancement program called "Guided Care" spent less time in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities and had fewer emergency room visits and home health episodes.

"Guided Care patients cost health insurers 11 percent less than patients in the control group," said Chad Boult, MD, MPH, MBA, the principal investigator of the study and creator of the Guided Care model. "If you apply that rate of savings to the 11 million eligible Medicare beneficiaries, programs like Guided Care could save Medicare more than $15 billion every year," added Boult, who is also the Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor in Health Care Policy at the Bloomberg School and director of the Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care.

Compared to patients who received usual care, Guided Care patients experienced, on average, 24 percent fewer hospital days, 37 percent fewer skilled nursing facility days, 15 percent fewer emergency department visits and 29 percent fewer home health care episodes, according to the study.

"While Guided Care patients received more personal attention from their care team and had more physician office visits, the avoided expenses related to care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and emergency departments more than offset all the costs of providing Guided Care," said lead author Bruce Leff, MD, associate professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management and associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "The program realized annual net savings of $75,000 per nurse, two thirds of which resulted from reductions in hospitalization."

Other studies have shown that Guided Care improves the quality of patients' care, reduces family caregiver strain and improves physicians' satisfaction with chronic care.

Guided Care is a model of proactive, comprehensive provided by physician-nurse teams for people with several chronic health conditions. It is a medical home for the growing number of older adults with chronic health conditions. This model is designed to improve patients' quality of life and care, while improving the efficiency of treating the sickest and most complex . The care teams include a registered nurse, two to five physicians, and other members of the office staff who work together for the benefit of each patient to:

  • Perform a comprehensive assessment at home
  • Create an evidence-based care guide and action plan
  • Monitor and coach the patient monthly
  • Coordinate the efforts of all the patient's healthcare providers
  • Smooth the patient's transition between sites of care
  • Promote patient self-management
  • Educate and support family caregivers
  • Facilitate access to appropriate community resources
Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Minority health-care clinics separate but unequal

Feb 09, 2009

A study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine may shed new light on why minority Americans have poorer health outcomes from chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

15 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

17 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

17 hours ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0