Case Study

How Cone Health used the ‘Gold Card’ programme to improve quality and experience

15 Minute Read


The challenge

Without robust support within and outside of hospital, patients with chronic conditions struggle to manage their own care and are frequently readmitted. To better support patients with high utilisation, health systems must proactively identify these patients and connect them to tailored, cross-continuum resources.

The organisation

In 2012, Cone Health, a six-hospital health system in Greensboro, North Carolina, US, created a Gold Card programme to reduce admissions and readmissions for COPD patients.

The approach

The gold card makes it easy for patients to self-identify each time they seek care across the system. Cone created standardised pathways in the ED for COPD patients and engaged patients across the continuum of care to reduce risk of readmission. They did this by identifying patients who need targeted support, preempting ED visits with standardised pathways, and providing wraparound support to help patients manage their care post-discharge.

The result

Since implementing the Gold Card programme, readmissions for cardholders have decreased 41%, saving the system around $15M USD.



How Cone Health developed their Gold Card programme

Among the pioneers in implementing the Gold Card programme is Cone Health, a six-hospital health system in Greensboro, North Carolina, US.


The three components

There are three key components to Cone Health's Gold Card programme:

  • Component

    Identify patients who need targeted support

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  • Component

    Divert Gold Card patients away from the ED

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  • Component

    Engage patients across the continuum of care

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Gold Card programme improves quality and patient experience

Implementing a Gold Card programme improved clinical outcomes for cardholders at Cone Health. Since the programme was put into place in 2012, COPD cardholder readmissions and avoidable health care costs decreased.


Decrease in readmissions for cardholders
with COPD


Cost savings for health system

In addition to improving hospital quality metrics and clinical outcomes, the Gold Card programme provides cross-continuum support for chronic COPD patients, keeping them out of the hospital and improving their overall experience.

Elvin Perkins quote
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