$6.1M Granted in Attempt to Lower Hospital Costs; Improve Patient Care
An article published on Newswise, an online collection of industry news stories, reported that the University of Chicago Medicine has been granted $6.1 million to develop a program focused on improving the relationship and continuity between continually ill patients and physicians. The hope is that strengthened bonds between doctor and patient will improve the quality of care and decrease the need for costly hospitalization.
The article indicated that several studies have been conducted about the impact of doctor-patient relationships, and the results show that patients who see the same doctor every visit have a lower number of hospitalizations, hospital stays, and ICU admittance than patients who see a different doctor every visit. David Meltzer, MD, PhD, associate professor at the University of Chicago Medicine, said “There’s a huge literature suggesting that elements of the doctor-patient relationship, including trust, interpersonal relations, communication, and knowledge of the patient, are all associated with lower costs and better outcomes.”
Newswise reported that Dr. Meltzer will be in charge of orchestrating the grant project by leading a team of medical professionals specialized in treating high-risk patients. The physicians will serve as the primary care providers for approximately 200 patients during their clinic visits and hospital stays. Patients will be people who have reportedly spent upwards of 10 days in the hospital over the course of a year.
“Dr. Meltzer’s innovative approach to this problem offers real hope that we will be able to deliver more healthcare in the community even to the sickest patients,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine and executive vice president of medical affairs at the University of Chicago Medicine. According to Newswise, Dr. Polonsky and fellow medical professionals are optimistic about the success Dr. Meltzer’s plan will have on lowering hospital costs and improving patient care.
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