Enhanced Support for Shared Decision Making Cuts Medical Costs

A study published today in the February issue of Health Affairs shows that providing Shared Decision Making-based health coaching for patients reduces the overall costs of care, hospitalizations, and surgeries dramatically.

“Enhanced Support For Shared Decision Making Reduced Costs Of Care For Patients With Preference Sensitive Conditions,” authored by David Veroff, Senior Vice President, Innovation at Health Dialog, presents analysis of a key subset of patients with conditions that frequently have major treatment decisions associated with them.

The study, based on a randomized controlled trial of 174,120 individuals, compared the effects on patients receiving a usual level of support engaging in key health and treatment decisions with the effects of receiving enhanced support, which included more contact with trained health coaches over the telephone. Veroff will be presenting an overview of the study and its findings to more than 300 healthcare industry influencers and policymakers on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 during a panel session entitled “Shared Decision Making.” The panel will be part of the Health Affairs Briefing: New Era of Patient Engagement being held in Washington, DC at the W Hotel.

After examining data from the year-long randomized investigation, key findings include:

  • Patients for whom enhanced support was available had 5.3 percent lower overall medical costs than patients for whom the usual support was available.
  • The enhanced support group had 12.5 percent fewer hospital admissions than the usual support group, and 9.9 percent fewer preference-sensitive surgeries, including 20.9 percent fewer preference-sensitive heart surgeries.

“These findings indicate that support for Shared Decision Making can generate savings,” said Veroff. “They also suggest that a ‘remote’ model of support combining telephonic coaching with decision aids may constitute a relatively low-cost and effective intervention that could reach broader populations without the need for direct involvement of regular medical care team members.”

The subset of patients in this study, totaling 60,185 individuals, had one or more of the following conditions: heart conditions, benign uterine conditions, benign prostatic hyperplasia, hip pain, knee pain, and back pain. These conditions were selected because they frequently require complex treatment decisions in which multiple viable options are available and there are significant risk and benefit tradeoffs. These patients were a subset of those included in a randomized trial of care management services previously published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The entirety of the study can be accessed here: http://www.healthdialog.com/Utility/News/HD-in-the-News/HealthAffairs2013. For more information on the Health Affairs Briefing: New Era of Patient Engagement click here.

Health Dialog’s library of Shared Decision Making® aids has collectively garnered 16 industry awards in 2012 and more than 100 industry awards in total in recent years. The company’s suite of medical decision aids covers a broad range of topics and is available online and also in DVD format. The company’s decision aids are currently available to more than 15 million individuals and are disseminated as part of Health Dialog’s broader total population health programs, which include telephonic health coaching by specially trained healthcare professionals.

About Health Dialog:

Health Dialog Services Corporation is a leading provider of healthcare analytics and decision support. The firm is a private, wholly-owned subsidiary of Bupa, a global provider of healthcare services. Health Dialog helps healthcare payors improve healthcare quality while reducing overall costs. Company offerings include health coaching for medical decisions, chronic conditions, and wellness; population analytic solutions; and consulting services. Health Dialog helps individuals participate in their own healthcare decisions, develop more effective relationships with their physicians, and live healthier, happier lives. For more information, visit www.healthdialog.com.


Health Dialog
Liz Horgan, 617-406-5268
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