Report identifies what makes high-intensity primary care more successful

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 22, 2012

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Initiatives that provide high-intensity primary care have a greater chance of improving outcomes and reducing medical costs if physicians involved select the patients who will take part, according to a research brief issued Oct. 4 by the Center for Studying Health System Change and the National Institute for Health Care Reform.

Having a care coordinator in the office, rather than off-site, also may increase a physician’s willingness to delegate appropriate tasks to him or her, the brief said (link).

High-intensity primary care is similar to the patient-centered medical home concept, which involves a team-based approach revolving around a primary care physician. What makes high-intensity primary care different is the focus on higher-cost, chronic patients, such as those with diabetes, congestive heart failure or depression.

Researchers interviewed primary care physicians working with six high-intensity primary care programs. Physicians complained about the ones that used a health insurer algorithm and claims data to select patients, because the process seemed to identify some who did not need such intensive services. In addition, having the care coordinator in the medical practice allowed this person to build trust with the physician. This seemed more difficult if the care coordinator was off-site, the brief said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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