Association of Patient Priorities-Aligned Decision-Making With Patient Outcomes and Ambulatory Health Care Burden Among Older Adults With Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Nonrandomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Oct 7;179(12):1688-1697. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.4235. Online ahead of print.


Importance: Health care may be burdensome and of uncertain benefit for older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs). Aligning health care with an individual's health priorities may improve outcomes and reduce burden.

Objective: To evaluate whether patient priorities care (PPC) is associated with a perception of more goal-directed and less burdensome care compared with usual care (UC).

Design, setting, and participants: Nonrandomized clinical trial with propensity adjustment conducted at 1 PPC and 1 UC site of a Connecticut multisite primary care practice that provides care to almost 15% of the state's residents. Participants included 163 adults aged 65 years or older who had 3 or more chronic conditions cared for by 10 primary care practitioners (PCPs) trained in PPC and 203 similar patients who received UC from 7 PCPs not trained in PPC. Participant enrollment occurred between February 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018; follow-up extended for up to 9 months (ended September 30, 2018).

Interventions: Patient priorities care, an approach to decision-making that includes patients' identifying their health priorities (ie, specific health outcome goals and health care preferences) and clinicians aligning their decision-making to achieve these health priorities.

Main outcomes and measures: Primary outcomes included change in patients' Older Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (O-PACIC), CollaboRATE, and Treatment Burden Questionnaire (TBQ) scores; electronic health record documentation of decision-making based on patients' health priorities; medications and self-management tasks added or stopped; and diagnostic tests, referrals, and procedures ordered or avoided.

Results: Of the 366 patients, 235 (64.2%) were female and 350 (95.6%) were white. Compared with the UC group, the PPC group was older (mean [SD] age, 74.7 [6.6] vs 77.6 [7.6] years) and had lower physical and mental health scores. At follow-up, PPC participants reported a 5-point greater decrease in TBQ score than those who received UC (ß [SE], -5.0 [2.04]; P = .01) using a weighted regression model with inverse probability of PCP assignment weights; no differences were seen in O-PACIC or CollaboRATE scores. Health priorities-based decisions were mentioned in clinical visit notes for 108 of 163 (66.3%) PPC vs 0 of 203 (0%) UC participants. Compared with UC patients, PPC patients were more likely to have medications stopped (weighted comparison, 52.0% vs 33.8%; adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.05; 95% CI, 1.43-2.95) and less likely to have self-management tasks (57.5% vs 62.1%; AOR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.41-0.84) and diagnostic tests (80.8% vs 86.4%; AOR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.12-0.40) ordered.

Conclusions and relevance: This study's findings suggest that patient priorities care may be associated with reduced treatment burden and unwanted health care. Care aligned with patients' priorities may be feasible and effective for older adults with MCCs.

Trial registration: identifier: NCT03600389.

Associated data