Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better continuity of care for elderly patients cuts costs, complications, study finds

Date:
March 17, 2014
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
Patients with chronic illnesses often face care that is poorly coordinated, leading to higher use of health services and poorer outcomes. A new study finds that improving the coordination of care for elderly patients with chronic diseases trims costs, reduces use of health services and cuts complications.

Improving the coordination of care for elderly patients with chronic diseases trims costs, reduces use of health services and cuts complications, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Related Articles


Studying a large group of Medicare patients, researchers found that even modest improvements in the continuity of care among patients with diabetes, congestive heart failure or emphysema were associated with sizable reductions in use of hospital emergency departments and hospitalizations.

The findings, published online by JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that improving the coordination of care for patients with these three illnesses could save Medicare as much as $1.5 billion per year.

"Improving the coordination of care for patients with chronic illnesses can be difficult to achieve, but our findings suggest that it can have benefits for both patients and the health care system," said Peter Hussey, the study's lead author and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

Patients with chronic illnesses often face care that is poorly coordinated. They may see many different health care providers working in multiple clinical locations, and poor communication between provider and patient is common. These factors can lead to higher use of health services and poorer outcomes.

Care coordination among providers has been identified as a priority by the Institute of Medicine and the National Priorities Partnership, a coalition of 52 national organizations working to improve the U.S. health care system. New models of patient care and provider payment programs -- encouraged under the Affordable Care Act -- are intended to reduce costs and improve quality through better coordination of care.

Previous studies have shown that patients with a close, continuous relationship with a physician are more likely to received recommended medical care. But many programs that aim to improve coordination of care have not reduced costs or improved quality.

Researchers evaluated the care received by nearly 300,000 Medicare recipients who were treated for an episode of congestive heart failure, emphysema or type 2 diabetes.

The study used a standard measure of continuity of care to determine how well patients' care was coordinated among different health providers. Care was deemed to be better coordinated if patients saw fewer health providers or if visits were concentrated among fewer providers.

Researchers found that patients with better continuity of care were less likely to be hospitalized, less likely to visit hospital emergency departments, had lower rates of complications and had lower overall costs for their episodes of care.

"Our results suggest the potential importance of care continuity and underscore the potential benefits that can be achieved through programs that improve coordination," Hussey said. "As health care delivery and payment programs evolve, we need to measure whether these reforms improve continuity and reduce health care costs."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter S. Hussey, Eric C. Schneider, Robert S. Rudin, D. Steven Fox, Julie Lai, Craig Evan Pollack. Continuity and the Costs of Care for Chronic Disease. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.245

Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Better continuity of care for elderly patients cuts costs, complications, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170714.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2014, March 17). Better continuity of care for elderly patients cuts costs, complications, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170714.htm
RAND Corporation. "Better continuity of care for elderly patients cuts costs, complications, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170714.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins