Study suggests improving medical care continuity is associated with lower costs

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— Patient centered medical homes and high levels of care continuity are associated with lower Medicare expenditures, according to a new RTI Press report authored by RTI International researchers.

The report, titled Care Continuity in a Patient-Centered Medical Home Setting, presents research on whether care continuity—an ongoing relationship between the patient and clinicians at a practice that monitors the patient's health status and care—drives lower Medicare expenditures in a patient-centered medical home setting. 

Patient-centered medical homes are clinical practices that provide care that is "accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate and culturally effective."  

The study confirmed previous RTI research indicating that patient-centered medical home-recognized practices are associated with lower Medicare expenditures. It also furthers this body of research by showing that high care continuity is associated with lower total Medicare expenditures even in practices that are not certified as patient-centered medical homes. 

"This study emphasizes the important role care continuity can have in reducing medical expenditures for Medicare patients," said Rebecca Perry, research analyst at RTI International and author of the publication. "However, further research would be helpful to identify the exact mechanisms and clinician behaviors by which care continuity lowers costs." 

RTI conducted this research with support from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

 

Highlights

  • Patient centered medical homes and high levels of care continuity are associated with lower Medicare expenditures, according to a new RTI Press report
  • The report presents research on whether care continuity—an ongoing relationship between the patient and clinicians at a practice that monitors the patient's health status and care—drives lower Medicare expenditures in a patient-centered medical home