Improving Primary Health Care Models


AbsoluteCARE pic

Alan Cohn serves as the CEO of Baltimore-based healthcare firm AbsoluteCARE from his home in Florida. Alan Cohn’s work with AbsoluteCARE has been highlighted by news sources like the Baltimore Sun for its innovative approach to primary health care models.

Health insurance limitations and the high cost of healthcare are putting a major burden on primary care physicians (PCPs), who see a lot of patients in a relatively short period of time. PCPs don’t have the time to sit and focus on the chronic or complex issues of a given patient, which leads to many referrals and tests, and the long wait times to see a PCP means more people lean on the emergency room for urgent care.

This model works reasonably well for acute, short-term problems, but patients with chronic, complex, or multiple issues need more time with physicians, and sometimes, a larger range of care, including mental health and social interventions. Just 5 percent of patients with these kinds of health conditions can take up between 30 and 40 percent of a health care plan’s budget.

Innovations in technology have paved the way for app-based telemedicine, where people can get relatively simple problems solved quickly, remotely, and at a relatively low cost. Some care providers are offering direct primary care, which is a higher-quality service consisting of time spent with fewer patients at a fixed cost, which can end up being more affordable for both the patient and the system.

Programs like AbsoluteCARE use a model that works best for patients with more complex issues. Patients are referred by a health insurance company, and then get access to a team of providers that includes social workers, nutritionists, and technicians at the same place, including a van service to bring the patients to the location. These full-service programs may help improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs for patients with a more complex range of issues,