Managing High-Cost Healthcare Users: The International Search for Effective Evidence-Supported Strategies
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High-cost healthcare users (HCUs) are a small proportion of the population who use a disproportionate amount of healthcare resources. Although the phenomenon occurs across the entire age spectrum, older adults represent the majority of HCUs. HCUs have drawn increasing attention internationally from clinicians, health policy-makers, and government administrators. Many experts have suggested that the short- and long-term sustainability of the healthcare system is threatened unless current approaches to the care and healthcare costs of this population are modified. Complex case management and care coordination models are being implemented internationally to address HCUs despite a lack of strong evidence to support their effectiveness in improving clinical outcomes or savings in costs of care. We review what is known about HCUs and the available evidence for the effectiveness of interventions designed to manage their high and costly healthcare use.
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