Researchers have developed a new patient taxonomy with clinically meaningful categories for high-cost Medicare patients. This interesting information came to us from Med City News in their article, “New patient taxonomy categorizes high-cost patients into groups for targeted interventions.”

The full study presents a novel patient taxonomy that developed 10 clinically meaningful categories to describe and identify high-cost patients which could help health systems tailor interventions to individuals who account for a disproportionate share of healthcare spending and utilization.

What this means for healthcare providers is the resources that high-cost patients need also result in diverse healthcare needs and current approaches to categorizing these patients have several limitations. The new taxonomy categories help to understand the medical, behavioral and social complexity of high-cost Medicare patients.

As advantageous as this taxonomy is, there are some limitations of the study. The patient population used to develop the taxonomy was located in the New York metropolitan area and may not be representative of other regions and municipalities. There may also be differences in drivers of high-cost and high-utilization patients between commercial payer and Medicaid populations.

Melody K. Smith

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