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Novel 'medical home' program for pediatric patients, families cuts ER visits in half
Date:3/16/2010

ces, it has not been a standard part of the educational curriculum for our country's future pediatricians," said lead study author Dr. Thomas Klitzner, chief of the UCLA Division of Pediatric Cardiology and executive director of the medical home project at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. "We set up a pilot program within our outpatient pediatric resident teaching clinic to develop a working model while building the required curriculum. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we could run an effective program in a teaching clinic and create medical efficiencies that decreased the overall cost of medical care by reducing emergency department visits."

Study data was collected between 2004 and 2007 from the Pediatric Medical Home Project at UCLA for Children With Special Healthcare Needs, which was founded at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA in 2003. Researchers examined emergency room, urgent care and inpatient encounters for 30 medical home patients for one year prior to enrollment in the program and for one year after enrollment. They found that among program participants, emergency room visits decreased by 55 percent.

"This positive effect was expected, because the medical home model stresses the importance of continuous, accessible outpatient care," said Klitzner, who holds UCLA's Jack H. Skirball Chair in Pediatrics. "The parents told us that they felt empowered by the pediatric residents, supervising faculty and medical home staff to use scheduled outpatient primary care and specialty visits rather than using the emergency department to get care."

Despite the decrease in emergency room visits, the study data showed no significant change in urgent care visits or hospital admissions, suggesting that the patients' overall burden of illness was not decreased during the study period. There was a trend toward greater use of scheduled outpatient appointments, which may have resulted from the program's emphasis on coordinating all of t
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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert  

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Novel 'medical home' program for pediatric patients, families cuts ER visits in half
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