Medica's "Care Advisor" Model Costs HMO Less, Gets Higher Patient Satisfaction

Evaluation of using care advisers for chronically ill older HMO enrollee

From 1996 to 2002, researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School compared the effects on patients and a health plan of using a "care advisor" who coordinated services for senior members of a health plan to those of the plan's regular "gatekeeper" model.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Chronic Care Initiatives in HMOs national program.

Key Findings

  • The care advisory group had slightly lower total costs than the regular "gatekeeper" group, primarily due to fewer physician visits.

  • Satisfaction scores were significantly higher in the care advisory group than in the regular "gatekeeper" group.