Post-Trial Sustainability and Scalability of the Benefits of a Medical Home for High-Risk Children with Medical Complexity

J Pediatr. 2019 Mar;206:232-239.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.10.035. Epub 2018 Dec 4.


Objective: To assess the sustainability of the benefits relative to usual care of a medical home providing comprehensive care for high-risk children with medical complexity (≥2 hospitalizations or ≥1 pediatric intensive care unit [PICU] admission in the year before enrollment) after we made comprehensive care our standard practice and expanded the program.

Study design: We conducted pre-post comparisons of the rate of children with serious illness (death, PICU admission, or >7-day hospitalization) and health-system costs observed after program expansion (March 2014-June 2015) to those during the clinical trial (March 2011-August 2013) for each of the trial's treatment groups (usual care, n = 96, and comprehensive care, n = 105; primary analyses), and among all children given comprehensive care (nPost-trial = 233, including trial usual care children who transitioned to comprehensive care post-trial and newly enrolled medically complex children, and nTrial = 105; secondary analyses). We also analyzed the findings for the trial patients as a 2-phase stepped-wedge study.

Results: In intent-to-treat analyses, rates of children with serious illness and costs were reduced or unchanged post-trial vs trial for the trial's usual care group (rate ratio [RR], 0.36; 95% CI, 0.20-0.64; cost ratio [CR], 0.68; 95% CI, 0.28-1.68), the trial's comprehensive care group (RR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.39-1.41; CR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.51-0.89), and among all children given comprehensive care (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.61-1.52; CR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.61-0.93). Conservative stepped-wedge analyses identified overall benefits with comprehensive care across both study periods (RR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30-0.72; CR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.99).

Conclusions: Major benefits of comprehensive care did not diminish with post-trial program expansion.

Keywords: comprehensive care; health system costs; serious illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Comprehensive Health Care*
  • Critical Care*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Program Evaluation*