Meric Osman, Researcher, Health Quality Council
High-performing health systems routinely seek out and use data to help them understand their current state, identify opportunities for improvement, and determine if the changes they’re making are resulting in better patient care.
In Saskatchewan, we are using administrative data sets to gain a better understanding of high-need, high-cost patients in this province. The term “high-cost user” or “high-cost patient” is a technical term from the literature. We are all “cost users” of health care services. The health system incurs costs whenever we see our family doctor, have an annual checkup, fill a prescription, visit Emergency, or have surgery. High-cost patients are those individuals whose use of these and other services exceeds a defined threshold. Developing a clearer picture of how these patients are currently using services is an important first step in finding and testing different ways to meet their needs.
By the end of this session, you will:
- understand how “high-need, high-cost patients” are studied using administrative databases;
- recognize the characteristics of high-need, high-cost patients; and,
- recognize health care patterns that may indicate patients with high needs that may accumulate high costs.