Patients at risk for generating high health care expenditures often receive fragmented, low-quality, inefficient health care. Guided Care is designed to provide proactive, coordinated, comprehensive care for such patients.
We hypothesized that Guided Care, compared to usual care, produces better functional health and quality of care, while reducing the use of expensive health services.
32-month, single-blind, matched-pair, cluster-randomized controlled trial of Guided Care, conducted in eight community-based primary care practices.
The “Hierarchical Condition Category” (HCC) predictive model was used to identify high-risk older patients who were insured by fee-for-service Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan or Tricare. Patients with HCC scores in the highest quartile (at risk for generating high health care expenditures during the coming year) were eligible to participate.
A registered nurse collaborated with two to five primary care physicians in providing eight services to participants: comprehensive assessment, evidence-based care planning, proactive monitoring, care coordination, transitional care, coaching for self-management, caregiver support, and access to community-based services.
Functional health was measured using the Short Form–36. Quality of care and health services utilization were measured using the Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care and health insurance claims, respectively.
Of the eligible patients, 904 (37.8 %) gave written consent to participate; of these, 477 (52.8 %) completed the final interview, and 848 (93.8 %) provided complete claims data. In intention-to-treat analyses, Guided Care did not significantly improve participants’ functional health, but it was associated with significantly higher participant ratings of the quality of care (difference = 0.27, 95 % CI = 0.08–0.45) and 29 % lower use of home care (95 % CI = 3–48 %).
Guided Care improves high-risk older patients’ ratings of the quality of their care, and it reduces their use of home care, but it does not appear to improve their functional health.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2287-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.