One Doctor, One Patient: A New Care Delivery Model For Patients At Increased Risk Of Hospitalization

Photo: Tom Rossiter

Photo: Tom Rossiter

Up to about 20 years ago, most hospitalized patients received care in the hospital from their primary care doctor. In recent years though, patients admitted to the hospital have often had their care handed off from their primary care physician to a hospitalist, a physician whose job is to care for patients once they enter the hospital. This exchange has often caused problems in coordinating care, leading to poorer medical outcomes and higher costs.

In the May issue of Health Affairs journal, David Meltzer, MD, PhD, and chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine and Gregory Ruhnke, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Section of Hospital Medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, propose a hybrid solution to this problem called the Comprehensive Care Physician Model, or CCP:

“[T]he key difference between the CCP model and the traditional model is that the CCP model focuses on patients at high risk of hospitalization,” the authors write. “Limiting patient panels in this way is intended to give CCPs enough hospitalized patients to have a meaningful daily physical presence in the hospital while still allowing them to provide ambulatory care for their patients.”

Science Life spoke to Meltzer back in 2012 when he first created his CCP model, likening it to the old TV show Marcus Welby, MD, in which the namesake character took care of his patients from cradle to grave, hospital to home. At the time, Meltzer said, ““There’s a huge literature suggesting that elements of the doctor-patient relationship, including trust, interpersonal relations, communication, and knowledge of the patient, are all associated with lower costs and better outcomes. We believe that this model can produce huge benefits for patients and some real economic savings.”

Read more about the new study in our Newsroom.

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Meltzer D.O. & Ruhnke G.W. (2014). Redesigning Care For Patients At Increased Hospitalization Risk: The Comprehensive Care Physician Model, Health Affairs, 33 (5) 770-777. DOI:

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