#AGS18 research links value-based care to social supports, interprofessional collaboration


Credit: (C) 2018, American Geriatrics Society

With support from Humana Inc., (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation's leading health and well-being companies, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today announced two recipients for its newest award celebrating innovation in value-based care as we age. The inaugural Humana Value-Based Care Research Awards will be presented to Austin J. Hilt, MPH, a medical student at Northeast Ohio Medical University, and Morteza Komeylian, MD, a Clinician Fellow at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, at the AGS 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS18), held May 3-5 in Orlando, Fla.

Selected from more than 1,000 research abstracts submitted for consideration–the AGS's most competitive pool to-date for its Annual Scientific Meetings–work by Hilt and Dr. Komeylian exemplifies four important priorities embodied by the Humana Value-Based Care Research Award, which celebrates commitments to:

  • Enhancing experiences of care by working to raise quality and satisfaction with the health systems that make person-centered care possible;
  • Improving the health of the overall population, especially as more Americans than ever before meet the challenges and opportunities that come with increased longevity;
  • Reducing individual and social burdens posed by high healthcare costs, which too often prevent older people from contributing to communities; and
  • Developing new skills and expertise for the diverse health professionals who make our health, safety, and independence a reality as we age.

Working with colleagues from Division of Aging at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Hilt explored the impact of social vulnerability on readmission rates for hospitalized older individuals. A link between the two is important for health professionals to understand, since personal relationships, social supports, social engagement, and socioeconomics all play a role in overall wellbeing as we age, though few of these characteristics have been evaluated from a clinical perspective. In their study, Hilt and his associates used a "social vulnerability index" to explore readmission rates for more than 200 people receiving in-patient (or hospital) geriatric care. Those with generally higher social vulnerability scores–evaluated based on seven clinical criteria–were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital or die compared to older people with a higher socioeconomic status or better connections to social networks and supports. But surprisingly, people with the highest social vulnerability scores also had the lowest risk of returning to the hospital or dying. In fact, patients with closer to average levels of social vulnerability were at the greatest risk of readmission or death. These findings suggest that more "average" patients, a group that can easily be overlooked, may benefit from increased attention in discharge planning. Overall, Hilt's work holds promise for helping healthcare professionals embed social vulnerability awareness in clinical workflows, thereby connecting at-risk older adults to social interventions in geriatric care.

Dr. Komeylian's study, "Isolated Hip Fracture Process Improvement at a Tertiary-Care Medical Center," explores ways to improve outcomes for one of the most serious and costly challenges older adults face: hip fractures following a fall. For people recovering from such injuries, an approach that leverages coordinated care among several different professionals has shown promise for improving care, now backed by an analysis from Dr. Komeylian and his colleagues, who looked at a specific inter-professional process for improving care. Assessing markers of quality care for people at a tertiary care medical center (a health facility that provides specialist attention after someone is referred from their primary care provider or a hospital), the researchers looked at outcomes for people receiving care from a coordinated group of specially trained experts in trauma services, orthopedics, geriatrics, and anesthesiology. This team approach helped the tertiary care center increase efficiency in getting patients into surgery within 48 hours while also reducing their lengths of stay and in-hospital mortality. According to Dr. Komeylian and his team, the program they reviewed demonstrates the effectiveness of multidisciplinary collaboration and holds promise for expanding targeted interventions to further improve care.

"As we at the AGS work toward a future that embraces personal care preferences and expectations, value-based care delivered by an interprofessional team remains a priority because it's a goal we all can share," notes AGS Board Chair Ellen Flaherty, PhD, APRN, AGSF. "With support from a health leader like Humana, we're proud to celebrate the work of researchers like Mr. Hilt and Dr. Komeylian, who are helping make value-based care a tangible priority."

"Humana strongly believes in the value of physician leadership and alignment of all participants in the healthcare arena to achieve the best outcomes. Objective research and scholarly activity are fundamental components of the scientific method to understanding and realizing the full benefit of value-based care," added Worthe Holt, MD, Vice President, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Humana.


Hilt and Dr. Komeylian will both present their findings during research sessions at #AGS18. For additional information and to access the full conference program, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.

About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has–for more than 75 years–worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.

About the Humana Value-Based Care Research Award

The Humana Value-Based Care Research Award will support up to two researchers annually at the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting who present top scholarship poised to accomplish four important priorities for older men and women: (1) enhance our experiences of care by working to raise care quality and our satisfaction with health systems that make person-centered care possible; (2) improve the health of our overall population, especially as more Americans than ever before prepare to meet the challenges and opportunities that come with increased longevity; (3) reduce individual and societal burdens posed by high healthcare costs, which too often prevent older men and women from contributing to our communities to the fullest potential; and (4) develop new skills and expertise for the diverse health professionals who make our health, safety, and independence a reality by addressing our unique needs as we age.

About the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting

The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. More than 2,500 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene May 3-5, 2018 (pre-conference program on May 2), at the Walt Disney World® Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.

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