Author(s): Jubelt LE, Graham J, Maeng DD, Li H, Epstein AJ,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Case managers are employed in medical homes to coordinate care for clinically complex patients. OBJECTIVE: To measure the association of patient perceptions of case manager performance with overall satisfaction and subsequent health care utilization. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Integrated health system in Pennsylvania. PATIENTS: Members of the health system-owned health plan who 1) received primary care in the health system's clinics, 2) were exposed to clinic-embedded case managers, and 3) completed a survey of satisfaction with care. MEASUREMENTS: Survey assessment of case manager performance and overall satisfaction with care and claims-based assessment of case manager performance and subsequent hospitalizations or emergency department visits. Survey measures were dichotomized into very good versus less than very good. RESULTS: A total of 1755 patients (44\%) completed the survey and 1415 met study criteria. Survey respondents who reported very good ratings of case manager performance across all items had a higher probability of reporting very good overall satisfaction with care (92.2\% vs. 62.5\%; P < 0.001) and had a lower incidence of subsequent emergency department visits (incidence rate ratio, 0.79 [95\% CI, 0.64 to 0.98]; P = 0.029) but not hospitalizations (incidence rate ratio, 0.92 [CI, 0.75 to 1.11]; P = 0.37) up to 2 years after the survey compared with survey respondents who reported less-than-very good case manager performance on 1 or more questions on the survey. LIMITATIONS: Satisfaction data demonstrated substantial ceiling effects. Survey nonresponse may have introduced bias in the results. CONCLUSION: Patients' favorable perceptions of case managers are associated with higher overall satisfaction with care and may lower risk for future acute care use. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
This article was published in Ann Intern Med
and referenced in Journal of Health & Medical Informatics