Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute are collaborating on a $2.5 million, five-year project aimed at developing a care model for the 1.4 million Americans over age 50 who are hospitalized each year with severe injuries, mostly the result of car crashes or falls.

Most of the patients can fully recuperate, but according to IU and Regenstrief researchers, many do not reach their full potential.

With the $2.5 million award from the National Institute on Aging, implementation scientists from IU and Regenstrief are testing the Trauma Medical Home, a model they have developed to help injured people over the age of 50 make a full recovery – physical, psychological and cognitive.

[Also: Indiana University launches $300 million precision health initiative]

The effort also aims to reduce the cost of care.

IU and Regenstrief doctors and scientists say the Trauma Medical Home can substantially decrease the estimated $83 billion it costs to care for the over-50 age group who sustain severe injuries.

“Individuals with moderate to severe non-neurological injuries – people without brain or spinal cord injuries – can recover in a dramatic fashion, but they need support not typically provided by the US healthcare system,” grant co-principal investigator Ben Zarzaur, MD, said in a statement. “Patients can spiral out of control after they leave the hospital because nobody is paying attention. They come back to the healthcare system late in the game with something that if we had intervened early – we could have headed off at the pass, possibly speeding recovery or preventing a re-injury and re-hospitalization.”

[Also: AMA, Regenstrief launch EHR training platform for medical students]

As Zarzaur sees it, the Trauma Medical Home team – consisting of a care coordinator, a trauma surgeon, an intensive care physician and other clinicians, working in conjunction with the patient’s primary care physician, are central to the innovative population health management approach.

Trauma Medical Home care ends six months following hospital discharge.

The NIA grant supports a trial of 430 Eskenazi Health and Indiana University Health trauma patients, half of whom will be randomized to Trauma Medical Home and half to usual care.

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