Vital Decisions Presents New Data in Journal of Palliative Medicine Underscoring Effectiveness of Advanced Illness Consultation Program

Latest Study Demonstrates High Patient Satisfaction and Cost Savings With A More Comprehensive Approach to Advance Illness Planning

Vital Decisions, a specialist in facilitating more effective Personal Advanced Illness Decision Making for patients and their families, presented new data in the June issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine confirming the effectiveness of an enhanced decision-making process for those facing Advance Illnesses. The data further strengthens the growing body of evidence that demonstrates when communication processes are aimed at aligning an individual’s quality of life preferences with the care delivered, significant improvements in quality and -economic efficiency can be realized.

“We are pleased to share the results of this peer reviewed study,” said Vital Decisions’ CEO Mitchell Daitz, “as it confirms the efficacy of a more comprehensive, collaborative approach to Advance Illness planning, not just our specific program methodology but also the tremendous value and contribution of our specialists that deliver the program and impact the lives of our clients.  An Advance Directive alone is not enough – this is about improving the communication and shared decision making among clinicians and family members, and recognizing the importance of changing the behaviors of the participants in the process.”

The Vital Decisions’ program was conducted over multiple sessions by advanced degree experts who telephonically interacted with the patient, and in many cases family members, identifying obstacles such as fear, denial, lack of self-confidence, and family dynamics – that may be inhibiting an individual’s ability to communicate preferences and values to their family and/or physicians. The intervention was designed to develop the intrinsic motivation to overcome these barriers, and enable the communication of an individual’s values and preferences so they may serve as the basis for current and future care decision-making.

In the study, medical costs incurred by Vital Decisions engaged decedents were significantly lower than otherwise similar control decedents. Over the last six months of life, intervention members matched with controls had average savings of $13,956, representing approximately a 35% savings of total costs. Over the last three months of life, intervention members had average savings of $9285, representing approximately a 30% savings. After factoring for the costs associated with implementing and operating the program this represents a program return on investment of 6:1.

Importantly, the program also had high satisfaction rates with members and their families/surrogates. Fostering communication of an individual’s quality-of-life preferences – often not discussed with family and providers, can ensure a greater likelihood the treatment received is aligned with their priorities. An additional outcome can be reduction in the unresolved guilt on behalf of family members and surrogates, as they have more clarity their advocacy on behalf of the member was what they truly wanted, less influenced by other biases.

“Since our inception we’ve dedicated ourselves to developing new processes and protocols to improve communications during these difficult moments,” concluded Daitz. “It is gratifying to be recognized by the Journal of Palliative Medicine and see our learnings contribute to the greater dialog on how we can work together to improve patient care in all life stages.”

To read our full study underscoring the effectiveness of an Advanced Illness Consultation Program, please follow this link:

About Vital Decisions

Headquartered in Edison, NJ, Vital Decisions specializes in facilitating more effective Personal Advanced Illness Decision Making by working closely with individuals and families to ensure each patient’s priorities and values are understood and honored. The company’s program integrates technology and interpersonal interventions across diverse populations, resulting in a more collaborative decision-making process that better reflects individual preferences, fewer unwanted treatments, and significantly reduced costs.

For more information contact: 

Vital Decisions Public Relations