Exploring Indicators of Use of Costly Health Services in Community-Dwelling Adults With Multiple Chronic Conditions

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Abstract

Although experts recognize that including patient functional and social variables would improve models predicting risk of using costly health services, these self-reported variables are not widely used.

Purpose of Study:

Explore differences in predisposing characteristics, enabling resources, patient-perceived need for care and professionally evaluated need for care variables between patients receiving primary care within a Health Care Home who did and did not use hospital, emergency department, or skilled nursing facility services in a 3-month period of time.

Primary Practice Setting(s):

Primary care.

Methodology and Sample:

Guided by the Behavioral Model of Health Service Use, a secondary analysis was conducted on data from a study that included 57 community-dwelling older adults receiving primary care in a Health Care Home. Because of the exploratory nature of the study, group differences in the use of costly care services were compared at the 0.10 level of statistical significance.

Results:

Seventeen patients (29.8%) experienced costly care services. The greatest number of differences in variables between groups was in the category of patient-perceived need for care (functional impairments, dependencies, difficulties).

Implications For Case Management Practice:

Targeting case management services using evidence-based decision support tools such as prediction models enhances the opportunity to maximize outcomes and minimize waste of resources. Patient-perceived and clinician-evaluated need for care may need to be combined to fully describe the contextual needs that drive the use of health services. Difficulty with Activities with Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living should be considered in future studies as candidate predictor variables for need for case management services in primary care settings.

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