skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Effectiveness of Intensive Primary Care Interventions: A Systematic Review.

Edwards ST, Peterson K, Chan B, Anderson J, Helfand M. Effectiveness of Intensive Primary Care Interventions: A Systematic Review. Journal of general internal medicine. 2017 Dec 1; 32(12):1377-1386.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Multicomponent, interdisciplinary intensive primary care programs target complex patients with the goal of preventing hospitalizations, but programs vary, and their effectiveness is not clear. In this study, we systematically reviewed the impact of intensive primary care programs on all-cause mortality, hospitalization, and emergency department use. METHODS: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cochrane Database of Reviews of Effects from inception to March 2017. Additional studies were identified from reference lists, hand searching, and consultation with content experts. We included systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and observational studies of multicomponent, interdisciplinary intensive primary care programs targeting complex patients at high risk of hospitalization or death, with a comparison to usual primary care. Two investigators identified studies and abstracted data using a predefined protocol. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. RESULTS: A total of 18 studies (379,745 participants) were included. Three major intensive primary care program types were identified: primary care replacement (home-based; three RCTs, one observational study, N  =  367,681), primary care replacement (clinic-based; three RCTs, two observational studies, N  =  9561), and primary care augmentation, in which an interdisciplinary team was added to existing primary care (five RCTs, three observational studies, N  =  2503). Most studies showed no impact of intensive primary care on mortality or emergency department use, and the effectiveness in reducing hospitalizations varied. There were no adverse effects reported. DISCUSSION: Intensive primary care interventions demonstrated varying effectiveness in reducing hospitalizations, and there was limited evidence that these interventions were associated with changes in mortality. While interventions could be grouped into categories, there was still substantial overlap between intervention approaches. Further work is needed to identify program features that may be associated with improved outcomes.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.