Does coordinating care save money, and if not, is it worth the effort?


Bad news for primary care advocates and the future of the proposed patient centered medical home.

Showing how difficult it is to coordinate care and focus on prevention, MedPage Today reports on a recent article from JAMA showing that, of the 15 Medicare pilot projects that used nurses to promote medication adherence and facilitate communication with doctors, only one reduced hospitalizations and none cut costs.

That’s a piss-poor result, and does note bode well for the proposed models that require increased funding to promote chronic care management and prevention.

If anything, the findings show how much effort it takes to guide patients towards the goal of better health. Face-to-face interaction continues to be the most persuasive method of educating patients, as communicating over the telephone doesn’t seem to be enough.

Medicare has since canceled all but two of these programs. I’m curious to see how much effort they’ll expend in the future when considering the new primary care models that prioritize these failed measures.