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Independent Health included in study to advance primary care


The effectiveness of patient-centered medical home (PCMH) pilot programs at Independent Health and Priority Health in Michigan will be evaluated through a $1.2 million grant awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to Michigan State University.


The patient-centered medical home concept places focus on long-term physician-patient relationships based on coordinated, accessible and comprehensive care rather than seeing your physician only when you're sick. The research will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each pilot on patient experience, cost, quality and outcomes. The three-year grant will analyze claims data from the pilot practices from each plan from 2009, when the pilots were launched, through 2011. Researchers will also conduct interviews and surveys with patients, physicians and healthcare providers and office staff.  Independent Health's PCMH pilot program, which includes 18 Western New York practices, 130 physicians and about 50,000 members, is one of the largest in the country.


"The research will compare the effectiveness of two different patient-centered medical home strategies on improvement in outcomes including cost, quality and experience in pilot practices," said Rebecca A. Malouin, Ph.D. M.P.H., director of the Primary Care Research and Evaluation Program at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. "It's the strength of our collaborative approach that makes this project exciting. As we move forward with health care reform in this country, the results of this type of research will help to identify key ingredients in creating patient-and family-centered care within primary care practices with a focus on quality, outcomes and cost reduction industry wide."


"Through evidence-based research, this independent evaluation will determine best practices to transform and improve the delivery of care and patient and physician experience," said Thomas J. Foels, M.D., chief medical officer, Independent Health. "It will provide invaluable information as we continue to seek viable and effective ways to achieve the Triple Aim of improved quality and care and lowering costs. We're honored to be included in this evaluation and look forward to working with Michigan State University and Priority Health on this important research, which will help advance primary care in Western New York and throughout the nation."


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