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Identifying Patients with Persistent Preventable Utilization Offers an Opportunity to Reduce Unnecessary Spending

In a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers from the Department of Population Health Sciences identified patients with persistent preventable utilization to compare their characteristics with high-cost patients. Together, Rainu Kaushal, MD, MPH, senior associate dean for clinical research, chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and Nanette Laitman Distinguished Professor of Population Health Sciences; Yongkang Zhang, PhD, research associate in population health sciences; Dhruv Khullar, MD, MPP, assistant professor of population health sciences; Yiyuan Wu, research biostatistician in population health sciences; and Lawrence Casalino, MD, MPH, professor of population health sciences, compared demographic, medical, behavioral, and social characteristics and total and preventable healthcare utilization between the two patient groups. They found that patients with persistent preventable utilization had lower median healthcare costs ($33,383 vs. $56,552) than high-cost patients, but their median potentially preventable costs were seven times higher ($7151 vs. $928). Overall, the researchers suggest that interventions designed for and targeted towards patients with persistent preventable utilization could be a way to reduce unnecessary utilization while promoting high-value care.

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