BMJ Open 2:2012-000941.
Directorate of Planning, Badalona Serveis Assistencials SA, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain
OBJECTIVES: To describe the adaptive capacity of the Adjusted Clinical Groups (ACG) system to the cost of care in primary healthcare centres in Catalonia (Spain).
DESIGN: Retrospective study (multicentres) conducted using computerised medical records.
SETTING: 13 primary care teams in 2008 were included.
PARTICIPANTS: All patients registered in the study centres who required care between 1 January and 31 December 2008 were finally studied. Patients not registered in the study centres during the study period were excluded.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic (age and sex), dependent (cost of care) and case-mix variables were studied. The cost model for each patient was established by differentiating the fixed and variable costs. To evaluate the adaptive capacity of the ACG system, Pearson’s coefficient of variation and the percentage of outliers were calculated. To evaluate the explanatory power of the ACG system, the authors used the coefficient of determination (R(2)).
RESULTS: The number of patients studied was 227 235 (frequency: 5.9 visits per person per year), with a mean of 4.5 (3.2) episodes and 8.1 (8.2) visits per patient per year. The mean total cost was €654.2. The explanatory power of the ACG system was 36.9% for costs (56.5% without outliers). 10 ACG categories accounted for 60.1% of all cases and 19 for 80.9%. 5 categories represented 71% of poor performance (N=78 887, 34.7%), particularly category 0300-Acute Minor, Age 6+ (N=26 909, 11.8%), which had a coefficient of variation =139% and 6.6% of outliers.
CONCLUSIONS: The ACG system is an appropriate manner of classifying patients in routine clinical practice in primary healthcare centres in Catalonia, although improvements to the adaptive capacity through disaggregation of some categories according to age groups and, especially, the number of acute episodes in paediatric patients would be necessary to reduce intra-group variation.
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