Intensive Outpatient Program Effects on High-need Patients’ Access, Continuity, Coordination, and Engagement

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The intensive and varied services required by high-need patients have inspired a number of new care delivery models; however, evidence of their effectiveness is mixed. This study evaluated whether augmenting a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) with intensive outpatient management enhances high-need patients’ care processes.

Research Design:

Retrospective analysis using differences-in-differences and χ2 tests.


Of 545 high-need patients receiving PCMH care, 140 were previously randomly selected for the intensive outpatient management program; the remaining received usual care.


We evaluated program effects on care continuity (proportion of primary care visits with assigned primary care physician); access (proportion of telephone visits out of all primary care encounters, missed appointment rate); care coordination (rate of follow-up after hospital discharge, new telehealth enrollment); and patient engagement (rates of online personal health record registration, advance directive completion).


Compared with patients receiving usual care, patients enrolled in intensive management experienced a 5.9% increase in proportion of primary care visits with an assigned primary care physician (P<0.001) and a 17.9% increase in proportion of telephone-based visits (P<0.001). Patients in the program had 7.5% higher rates of telehealth referral (P=0.01), 17.2% higher rates of advance directive completion (P<0.01), and 9.3% higher rates of personal health record registration (P=0.02). There was no effect on missed appointments or posthospital discharge visit rates.


Augmenting a PCMH with intensive outpatient management may have positive effects on primary care processes related to continuity, access, coordination, and patient engagement.

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