Finding help for high-cost patients

Colorado is hosting  a pilot program targeting high-cost patients, using sophisticated mapping of neighborhoods, to learn why, say, an elderly resident would rather call an ambulance than have a neighbor drive her to a preventive appointment.

According to a Denver Post article, “One northwest Denver ZIP code in the readmission pilot stood out with high rates of elderly residents returning to the hospital. Overlaying census data for the neighborhood shows an area in transition, with new Latino families moving in and white homeowners aging in place.”

Jane Brock, medical officer of the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, said further research could explore whether aging homeowners have connections to their new neighbors and whether they seek help with rides to the drugstore, grocery store, or doctor.

Pilot studies are combing tabular and spatial data to help address the challenge of high healthcare spending  0f the elderly. Studies have shown the sickest 1 percent of patients spend nearly 30 percent of a health system’s money. The pattern holds true in private and public insurance systems. Also the healthiest 90 percent of a system’s patients cost only slightly more to treat than that ill 1 percent.

Source: Denver PostSpatial Sustain Picture from: 123RF

Sachiye Day, VERTICES intern. sachiye@vertices.com

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