There are three key components to Cone Health's Gold Card programme:
How Cone Health used the ‘Gold Card’ programme to improve quality and experience
Learn how Cone Health created a Gold Card programme to reduce admissions and readmissions for COPD patients
January 15, 2021
15 Minute Read
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.
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 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.
Since implementing the Gold Card programme, readmissions for cardholders have decreased 41%, saving the system around $15M USD.
To improve quality and reduce readmissions, leaders at Cone Health analysed claims data to identify patients with outsized inpatient utilisation. They noticed a trend: COPD patients with three or more hospitalisations in a 6-month period accounted for a disproportionate amount of readmissions. Additionally, this subset of patients often presented with a variety of comorbidities, such as CHF, diabetes, and renal failure.
Cone Health’s gold card members receive a credit card-sized gold card with a unique identification number in addition to supplementary patient education about their condition. The gold card makes it easy for patients to self-identify each time they seek care across the system.
Recognising the unique needs of COPD patients, Cone invested in holistic support to help them better manage their care after a hospital visit. For example, Cone recognised that anxiety and depression were common drivers of low care plan adherence. To address this, inpatient clinicians conduct a depression screen for gold card patients and offer non-pharmacological interventions such as meditation classes to supplement clinical care.
Cone’s care management team continues to support patients post-discharge. For example, in collaboration with Cone, local pharmacies waive the medication delivery fee for gold card members.
Decrease in readmissions for cardholders
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.