Providers aim to improve population health with patient-centered medical neighborhoods

To better manage population health, some providers now invest in preventive technology and patient outreach as part of an initiative to eventually create "patient-centered medical neighborhoods," Becker's Hospital Review reports.

For example, Orlando (Fla.) Health plans to add care managers and take necessary steps to care for patients in the most appropriate environment, even if that means leaving the acute-care setting, according to the article. "If we're going to be entering into contracts with employers or managed care organizations [based on value], it might actually be in our health system's best interests to have alternative sites of care, like ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs)," Rachel M. Scheinberg, Orlando Health's director of business development, told Becker's.

In addition to transitioning its primary care physician offices into National Committee for Quality Assurance Level III patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), Orlando Health recently signed two managed-care value-based contracts that operate under the fee-for-service model but provide bonuses as incentives for outcomes. "We have a foot in two boats," Scheinberg told Becker's. "This is a different way of delivering care. When doctors are able to get better results, they get a bonus. It's very clinically driven."

In the future, Orlando Health plans to expand beyond the PCMH model to what it calls patient-centered medical neighborhoods, broader networks that would comprise affiliated specialists, ASCs and other providers who compare notes and coordinate care, according to the article. This model would ensure "all of our caregivers are following evidence-based medicine protocols, and are connected to each other, and the patient," Scheinberg said. It would also mean the organization will offer better coordinated patient care and help providers proactively engage patients in their own care.

Although many organizations favor these team-based approaches to care, studies show the model offers mixed results. For example, a January report indicated the PCMH model reduced costs of care and improved population health, but a more recent study found that the model did not significantly improve care quality or save money,  FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.

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