Association Between Patient-Centered Medical Homes and Adherence to Chronic Disease Medications: A Cohort Study

Background: Despite the widespread adoption of patient-centered medical homes into primary care practice, the evidence supporting their effect on health care outcomes has come primarily from geographically localized and well-integrated health systems.

Objective: To assess the association between medication adherence and medical homes in a national patient and provider population, given the strong ties between adherence to chronic disease medications and health care quality and spending.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Claims from a large national health insurer.

Patients: Patients initiating therapy with common medications for chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia) between 2011 and 2013.

Measurements: Medication adherence in the 12 months after treatment initiation was compared among patients cared for by providers practicing in National Committee for Quality Assurance–recognized patient-centered medical homes and propensity score–matched control practices in the same Primary Care Service Areas. Linear mixed models were used to examine the association between medical homes and adherence.

Results: Of 313 765 patients meeting study criteria, 18 611 (5.9%) received care in patient-centered medical homes. Mean rates of adherence were 64% among medical home patients and 59% among control patients. Among 4660 matched control and medical home practices, medication adherence was significantly higher in medical homes (2.2% [95% CI, 1.5% to 2.9%]). The association between medical homes and better adherence did not differ significantly by disease state (diabetes, 3.0% [CI, 1.5% to 4.6%]; hypertension, 3.2% [CI, 2.2% to 4.2%]; hyperlipidemia, 1.5% [CI, 0.6% to 2.5%]).

Limitation: Clinical outcomes related to medication adherence were not assessed.

Conclusion: Receipt of care in a patient-centered medical home is associated with better adherence, a vital measure of health care quality, among patients initiating treatment with medications for common high-cost chronic diseases.

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