Patient care coordination could reduce frequent health care use

Better coordination of patient care between health care providers could lessen use of the health care system use by seniors and those with chronic conditions, according to research recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

A Toronto-based research team found that individuals who frequently visit emergency departments and clinics and are admitted to hospitals use a disproportionate amount of health care resources despite their relatively small numbers.

The team analyzed 36 randomized controlled trials and 14 companion reports – a total of 7,494 patients – to find improvements that could decrease health care usage of frequent users.

Findings showed a 20% decrease in hospital admissions for patients receiving a care coordination quality improvement strategy compared patients who receive standard care. The study also showed a 31% decrease in visits to the emergency department by older patients.

“Quality improvement strategies focused on the coordination of care reduced hospital admissions among patients with chronic conditions and reduced emergency department visits among older patients,” Andrea Tricco, PhD, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto and the Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, stated in a press release.

Case management, changes in primary health care team functions and patient education were factors in the reduction, Tricco noted.

For more information:

Tricco AC. CMAJ. 2014: pii:cmaj.140289. PMID: 25225226

Disclosure: The study was written in conjunction with coauthors from the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Women’s College Hospital, Departments of Family and Community Medicine and of Geriatric Medicine.

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