There’s a significant–and growing–body of scientific literature that supports one simple idea: patients who receive preventive care tend to have better health outcomes over a longer period of time.
However, the quality of that primary care can have a significant impact on just how pronounced those improved outcomes might be. One simple way to measure how healthy a population might be is to look at that population’s rate of hospital admissions. Data like this can be found in a study published in the December 2012 issue of The American Journal of Managed Care. While the research itself may be several years old, the conclusions of the study remain relevant today (perhaps even more so, as traditional primary care has become harder for patients to access in the years since publication).
This study found that more personalized, high quality primary care may have helped patients reduce their hospitalization rates by quite a large margin. In other words: investing in primary care can help you stay healthier–and stay out of the hospital.
How This Study Was Conducted
Titled, “Personalized Preventive Care Leads to Significant Reductions in Hospital Utilization,” this particular study was conducted by a large group of doctors and care providers.
To conduct this study, these researchers looked at 1,000 individuals over 5 years–in five different states. Those five states were New York, Florida, Virginia, Arizona, and Nevada. Researchers specifically compared those enrolled in MDVIP, a form of membership-based primary care called concierge care.
Concierge care and Direct Primary Care (DPC) have similarities and differences. The biggest similarities are that each one reduces the number of patients each provider sees compared to a traditional practice, and each one charges patients a monthly membership fee to access their provider, along with many other benefits. The biggest difference is that concierge care bills insurance companies and has contracts with them, but DPC does not. We think this is a big deal. Since DPC doesn’t have contracts with insurance companies, DPC doctors aren’t constrained by requirements insurance companies commonly have. DPC doctors have more freedom to treat our patients how we see fit.
For the purposes of this research, membership-based primary care patients were used to draw conclusions about how beneficial more personalized, high-quality primary care may be for patients.
The primary metric that researchers were able to measure was hospital discharges. (In order to be discharged from the hospital, one must first be admitted to the hospital, so this makes sense.) Researchers then split these 1000 patients into distinct age groups, in order to control for medicare-aged and non-medicare-aged groups.
What This Study Shows
Patients who received their primary care through membership based primary care (in this study, MDVIP) were receiving what’s known as concierge primary care. This is primary care that is, typically, quite expensive but which offers distinct advantages. Patients at a concierge clinic will be able to see their physicians more frequently and for longer durations. They may even receive more thorough and complete primary care.
By comparing those who received concierge care to typical primary care, researchers were able to make the following conclusions. Those who received more personalized care were:
- Between 42 – 62% less likely to be hospitalized between the years of 2006-2010. (This number rose steadily over the five years, with 62% fewer hospitalizations occuring in 2010.)
- Between 23 – 49% less likely to be admitted to the hospital in the first place.
- Between 45 – 63% less likely to experience an avoidable admission to a hospital.
There were significant cost savings associated with this approach to medicine as well. In fact, savings across these five states totaled $110 million during 2010 alone.
Broadly speaking, the study found that hospital discharges were 79% lower for concierge care Medicare patients than the general population. (The general population also saw benefits from membership-based primary care–but they were not quite as pronounced as they were in the Medicare-aged population. This likely is due to older populations being more likely to require hospitalization.)
The study found that, across a wide variety of metrics, personalized high quality primary care may be able to significantly minimize hospitalizations.
Why This Matters to You
The study examined a specific type of membership-based primary care service. The precise model is likely not the important takeaway. What made membership based primary care successful in terms of lowering hospitalizations is that they limited the number of patients each doctor was seeing at a given clinic. This allowed patients to receive more comprehensive, more personalized care.
This is likely to be a deciding factor in terms of rates of hospitalization.
And it’s why many clinic systems have begun to adopt a more personalized model. Direct primary care clinics such as Progressive Health Primary Care offer many of the same benefits outlined as important in the study: more time with your doctor, more comprehensive primary care, and many healthcare services under the same roof. Patients are more able to ask questions, receive information, and get in touch when they need to.
This study strongly suggests that it’s this extra time, care, and attention that can–over the long run–lead to better outcomes and less time in the hospital.
Decisions for You
In some cases, hospital stays are unavoidable–and even beneficial. However, there are definite advantages to avoiding the hospital. When problems are discovered (and treated) before a hospital stay is necessary, they’re often easier to address (and addressed more successfully). For patients, this means you’ll avoid expensive hospital bills–and all the stress and complications that come with a hospital visit.
When you’re a member at a direct primary care clinic like Progressive Health Primary Care, you will receive high quality, personalized primary care without needing to pay for each individual appointment. So make the decision to receive the beneficial care you deserve today and make an appointment at Progressive Health Primary Care!