Personalized preventive care saves money, improves health

Study finds tailored primary care model leads to fewer emergency room and urgent care visits
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A primary care model that provides personalized preventive care for patients saves money and improves their health, according to a new study published in the February edition of Population Health Management.

The study compared patients from practices that adopted the MD-Value in Prevention (MDVIP) model to patients in traditional primary care practices. When their physicians focused on personalized preventive care, patients achieved costs savings and improved their health management within three years, the study found.

Researchers looked at 10,186 MDVIP patients who received individualized care that focused on lifestyle behavior modification, disease prevention, and compliance with quality-related metrics.

MDVIP is a network of 830 affiliated primary care physicians across the country. Its physicians limit the size of their practice to about 600 patients as opposed to the 2,000 or more a doctor typically sees in a conventional primary care practice. Physicians also provide patients with an annual 60- to 90-minute wellness visit that includes health screenings, advanced diagnostic testing, and coaching for nutrition and exercise.

But that individual attention does come with a price, as the study found medical and pharmacy expenses were higher for MDVIP patients, at least initially.

The study compared the results of care provided by MDVIP physicians and randomly selected, nonmember patients, tracking healthcare use and expenditures for three years, The study showed the following:

  • Members reduced their use of emergency room and urgent care services.
  • Average medical and pharmacy expenses were higher for members than patients in the control group, but the gap narrowed over time so that by the third year, expenditures between the two groups were similar. Researchers attributed the initial increase to pharmaceutical costs.
  • Over time, there were increasing cost savings for members as compared to non-members.
  • Older age groups were more likely to realize savings in the early years indicating chronic conditions were being managed.
  • Younger age groups were most likely to achieve savings by the third year after enrollment, supporting the position that prevention saves money.

The study demonstrates "the clinical and economic value of a close doctor-patient partnership that enables a level of personalized care that's just not possible in volume medicine today," said Andrea Klemes, M.D., chief medical officer of MDVIP, in a company announcement.

The White House last year began an initiative aimed at advancing a new era of medicine that focuses on delivering more personalized healthcare. Today the White House administration announced a new round of commitments from the private, public, academic and nonprofit sectors aimed to accelerate future efforts.

To learn more:
- read the study
- check out the announcement

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