A Patient-Centered Primary Care Practice Approach Using Evidence-Based Quality Improvement

Rationale, Methods, and Early Assessment of Implementation

Published in: JGIM, Journal of General Internal Medicine, v. 29, supplement 2, July 2014, S589-S597

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Lisa V. Rubenstein, Susan Stockdale, Negar Sapir, Lisa Altman, Timothy R. Dresselhaus, Susanne Salem-Schatz, Susan Vivell, John C Ovretveit, Alison Hamilton, Elizabeth Yano

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BACKGROUND: Healthcare systems and their primary care practices are redesigning to achieve goals identified in Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) models such as Veterans Affairs (VA)'s Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT). Implementation of these models, however, requires major transformation. Evidence-Based Quality Improvement (EBQI) is a multi-level approach for supporting organizational change and innovation spread. OBJECTIVE: To describe EBQI as an approach for promoting VA's PACT and to assess initial implementation of planned EBQI elements. DESIGN: Descriptive. PARTICIPANTS: Regional and local interdisciplinary clinical leaders, patient representatives, Quality Council Coordinators, practicing primary care clinicians and staff, and researchers from six demonstration site practices in three local healthcare systems in one VA region. INTERVENTION: EBQI promotes bottom-up local innovation and spread within top-down organizational priorities. EBQI innovations are supported by a research-clinical partnership, use continuous quality improvement methods, and are developed in regional demonstration sites. APPROACH: We developed a logic model for EBQI for PACT (EBQI-PACT) with inputs, outputs, and expected outcomes. We describe implementation of logic model outputs over 18 months, using qualitative data from 84 key stakeholders (104 interviews from two waves) and review of study documents. RESULTS: Nearly all implementation elements of the EBQI-PACT logic model were fully or partially implemented. Elements not fully achieved included patient engagement in Quality Councils (4/6) and consistent local primary care practice interdisciplinary leadership (4/6). Fourteen of 15 regionally approved innovation projects have been completed, three have undergone initial spread, five are prepared to spread, and two have completed toolkits that have been pretested in two to three sites and are now ready for external spread. DISCUSSION: EBQI-PACT has been feasible to implement in three participating healthcare systems in one VA region. Further development of methods for engaging patients in care design and for promoting interdisciplinary leadership is needed.

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