Study: Patients Benefit From Coordinated Healthcare, Proactive Approach

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield wants to get more providers, insured members to sign up for coverage in which ‘care coordinators’ work with patients. Citing improved healthcare for about 200,000 patients, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is trying to get more insured members and healthcare providers to participate in reforms aimed at improving coordination and bolstering preventive care.

An internal study made public last month touted positive results for about 200,000 patients participating in Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), in which providers commit to working together with patients to improve their health rather than just treat them when they become sick.

PCMHs rely on “care coordinators” on each healthcare provider’s staff to work with patients to schedule appointments and tests, and monitor their health.

PCMH patients fared better when it came to diabetes control and cholesterol management, and had more breast-cancer and colorectal screenings than patients served by traditional medical practices, according to the study.

The PCMH patients also had lower rates of emergency room visits and hospital admissions, as well as a 4 percent lower total cost of care.

Horizon executive Joseph O’Hara said the study confirmed that the company is moving in the right direction in developing such programs, which now include more than 3,700 doctors in PCMHs, as well as 13 accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are larger organizations such as hospital systems that use care coordination to serve specific groups of patients, such as Medicare recipients. O’Hara is Horizon’s ACO program director.


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