The Economics of Patient-Centered Care

Guy David, Health Care Management, The Wharton School; Philip Saynisch, Harvard Business School; and Aaron Smith-McLallen, Independence Blue Cross

Abstract: The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is a widely-implemented model for improving primary care, emphasizing care coordination, information technology, and process improvements. However, its treatment as an undifferentiated intervention obscures meaningful variation in implementation. This heterogeneity leads to contracting inefficiencies between insurers and practices and may account for mixed evidence on its success. Using a novel dataset we group practices into meaningful implementation clusters and then link these clusters with detailed patient claims data. We find implementation choice affects performance, suggesting that generally-unobserved features of primary care reorganization influence patient outcomes. Reporting these features may be valuable to insurers and their members.

Read the full working paper here.

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.