An evaluation of the Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System’s ProvenHealth Navigator, a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, found that hospitalizations have been reduced by 18% for all patients.1
The National Institutes on Aging-sponsored project Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE), which also functioned according to several PCMH principles, reduced hospitalizations by 40% and 44% in its second and third years, another evaluation showed.2,3
And in the Veterans Affairs-managed Home-Based Primary Care project, another PCMH-based effort, readmissions were reduced by 22% in the first six months, but the reduction wasn’t sustained for the rest of the year.4
Those findings are among the most definitive so far on the effects of the PCMH on hospitalization rates, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) report published in February.
The report concluded that among the statistically significant findings in the biggest PCMH evaluations, favorable results far outnumbered unfavorable results—on outcomes, ED use, and patient experience.
But AHRQ also found that most studies have been inconclusive due to problems with their methodologies. For instance, many studies don’t factor in “clustering,” in which patient outcomes within a practice can be expected to be similar to that of other patients at that practice. AHRQ’s report evaluated the results only from studies it determined had methodologies that were sufficiently rigorous.
The evaluation of the GRACE project was the only evaluation that found any evidence of savings, according to the report. But that study was one of only four on the topic that were deemed worth consideration.
David Meyers, MD, director of the Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships at AHRQ, points out that the systems that have been evaluated are the very earliest adopters of PCMH principles. Researchers estimate that it could take 10 years to get reliable results.
“The good news,” Dr. Meyers says, “is that there are a lot more demonstrations happening now, so we soon will have a lot more guidance about how to make this model work.”
Tom Collins is a freelance writer in South Florida.
1. Gilfillan RJ, Tomcavage J, Rosenthal MB, et al. Value and the medical home: Effects of transformed primary care. Am J Manag Care. 2010;16(8):607-614.
2. Bielaszka-DuVernay, et al. The “GRACE” model: in-home assessments lead to better care for dual eligibles. Health Aff (Millwood). 2011;30(3):431-434.
3. Counsell SR, Callahan CM, Tu W, Stump TE, Arling GW. Cost analysis of the Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders care management intervention. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009;57(8):1420-1426.
4. Hughes SL, Weaver FM, Giobbie-Hurder A, et al. Effectiveness of team-managed home-based primary care: a randomized multicenter trial. JAMA. 2000;284(22):2877-2885.