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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996 Jul;44(7):847-56.

The effectiveness and efficiency of outpatient geriatric evaluation and management.

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Samuel S. Stratton Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Albany, New York 12208, USA.



To compare the effectiveness of geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) with usual primary care (UPC).


A 2 x 3 randomized controlled group design.


A 450-bed Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) that provides general medical and surgical care to eligible veterans.


One-hundred sixty male subjects (mean age = 72 years), who were above average users of VAMC outpatient clinics and who had at least two Activity of Daily Living (ADL) or Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL) impairments, were assigned to GEM (n = 80) or UPC (n = 80).


Data were collected about patients' (1) health and functional status, (2) psychosocial well-being, (3) quality of health and social care, (4) health care utilization, and (5) health care costs. Data were obtained before randomization, and again at 8 and 16 months.


The results indicated that GEM was more effective than UPC in improving some aspects of the quality of health and social care and in increasing patient satisfaction with care. GEM also reduced emergency room use, and showed a trend toward decreasing acute admissions. It was not effective, however, in improving patients' psychosocial well-being. Except for a short-term survival advantage, it was also not effective in preventing deterioration in their health and functional status. Further, GEM did not reduce overall utilization of outpatient or inpatient services, and it significantly increased total outpatient health care costs.


Outpatient GEM improves patient satisfaction and some aspects of the quality of care patients' receive but does not reduce the cost of outpatient or inpatient care. Longer-term follow-up studies are needed to determine whether reductions in emergency room use and inpatient admissions persist over time and result in reductions in the overall cost of care.

Comment in

  • ACP J Club. 1997 Jan-Feb;126(1):14.
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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