The Impact of a Health Information Technology–Focused Patient-Centered Medical Neighborhood Program Among Medicare Beneficiaries in Primary Care Practices: The Effect on Patient Outcomes and Spending

Publisher: Medical Care (online ahead of print)
Feb 16, 2018
Sean Orzol, Rosalind Keith, Mynti Hossain, Michael Barna, G. Greg Peterson,Timothy Day, Boyd Gilman, Laura Blue, Keith Kranker, Kate Stewart, Sheila Hoag, and Lorenzo Moreno

Background. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) tests new models of paying for or delivering health care services and expands models that improve health outcomes while lowering medical spending. CMMI gave TransforMED, a national learning and dissemination contractor, a 3-year Health Care Innovation Award (HCIA) to integrate health information technology systems into physician practices. This paper estimates impacts of TransforMED’s HCIA-funded program on patient outcomes and Medicare parts A and B spending.

Research Design. We compared outcomes for Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries served by 87 treatment practices to outcomes for Medicare FFS beneficiaries served by 286 matched comparison practices, adjusting for differences in outcomes between the 2 groups during a 1-year baseline period. We estimated impacts in 3 evaluation outcome domains: quality-of-care processes, service use, and spending.

Results. We estimated the program led to a 7.1% reduction in inpatient admissions and a 5.7% decrease in the outpatient emergency department visits. However, there was no evidence of statistically significant effects in outcomes in either the quality-of-care processes or spending domains.

Conclusions. These results indicate that TransforMED’s program reduced service use for Medicare FFS beneficiaries, but also show that the program did not have statistically significant favorable impacts in the quality-of-care processes or spending domains. These results suggest that providing practices with population health management and cost-reporting software—along with technical assistance for how to use them—can complement practices’ own patient-centered medical home transformation efforts and add meaningfully to their impacts on service use.