As a physician and healthcare consultant, I agree with Susan Frampton, president of Planetree, based on her recent op-ed, "Don't let lack of evidence delay patient-centered changes".
Strengthening the argument, multiple studies have shown that patient-centered approaches improve patient care. In addition, by focusing on high-cost/high-risk patients, self-funded organizations can make a significant difference in the reduction of healthcare expenses and in the improvement of care.
We need to keep in mind that high-cost/high-risk patients, who represent the top 1% to 5% most-expensive enrollees in a health plan, account for 25% to 50% of the healthcare costs, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The average cost for a patient in the top 1% is more than $100,000 a year. These costs can be reduced through careful patient-centered care, such as outpatient care as part of a patient-centered medical home. For example, a 2012 AHRQ/HHS report (Early Evidence on the Patient-Centered Medical Home) summarizes that the Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) model realized 23% savings for the high-risk group (compared with a control group) in the post-intervention year after two years of intervention, which were initially cost-neutral.
Since laws and regulations vary depending on health plan type, appropriate legal compliance needs to be addressed before implementing patient-centered care in any health plan.
Patient-centered enhanced care is an important tool to help improve the care of high-cost/high-risk patients while simultaneously achieving savings.
Dr. Moshe Ziv
CEOHealthcare OutcomesSolution Denver