Patient Outcomes Mixed in Study of Physicians Trained at Henry Ford's Managed Care College

Evaluation of a managed care college for physicians

From 1994 to 2000, researchers from the Henry Ford Health System evaluated the impact of clinician participation in continuing education on provider attitudes, practice behaviors and patient outcomes.

Henry Ford provided the continuing education courses through a Managed Care College, which, due to financial restructuring and changes in ownership, underwent successive transformations.

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

Key Findings

  • Physicians who participated in the college tended to hold more positive attitudes about the guidelines endorsed by their system's health maintenance organization.

  • Compared to patients treated by control group physicians, patients with asthma treated by physicians who participated in the college were more likely to receive education about asthma medication use and less likely to be referred to an allergist.

  • In comparison to patients with asthma seen by control group physicians, patients of physicians enrolled in the college had a reduced likelihood of being seen in the emergency department for asthma and an increase in the number of primary care visits for asthma.

  • Patients with congestive heart failure who were seen by physicians enrolled in the college had a reduced likelihood of receiving a prescription for digoxin (a commonly prescribed drug for congestive heart failure) and of incurring a hospitalization for the condition than patients seen by physicians in the control group.