Countywide physician organization learning collaborative and changes in hospitalization rates.
In 2011, the California Right Care Initiative implemented a countywide physician organization learning collaborative called University of Best Practices (UBP) in San Diego County for major healthcare systems and physician organizations to share best practices in managing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factors. Our objective was to examine whether UBP was associated with fewer hospitalizations for heart attacks and strokes.A quasi-experimental design was used to compare age-adjusted adult hospitalization rates before UBP initiation (2007-2010) against rates after UBP initiation (2011-2014) in San Diego County versus the rest of California.Difference-in-differences (DID) logistic regression models were estimated using hospitalization data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for 2007 to 2014, including 372,205 and 642,455 hospitalizations for heart attacks and strokes, respectively.In the UBP versus pre-UBP period, the odds of adults being hospitalized for a heart attack in San Diego County decreased (odds ratio [OR], 0.84), whereas the odds stayed the same for adults in the rest of California (OR, 1.00): DID ratio of OR, 0.84 (P <.001). This relative decrease was equivalent to 2735 (or 16.5%) fewer hospitalizations, totaling $61 million (2014 dollars). No robust association was found between UBP implementation and hospitalizations for strokes.A countywide physician organization learning collaborative was associated with fewer hospitalizations for heart attacks, but not for strokes. Healthcare systems and physician organizations should consider forming collaboratives to share best practices to manage patients' cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factors, which may lead to fewer hospitalizations and reduced healthcare costs.