Association of Medical Home Team-Based Care Functions and Perceived Improvements in Patient-Centered Care at VHA Primary Care Clinics

Published in: Healthcare, v. 2, no. 4, Dec. 2014, p. 238-244

Posted on on January 26, 2016

by Christian D. Helfrich, Emily D. Dolan, Stephan D. Fihn, Hector Rodriguez, Lisa S. Meredith, Ann-Marie Rosland, Michele Lempa, Bonnie J. Wakefield, Sandra Joos, Lauren H. Lawler, et al.

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INTRODUCTION: Team-based care is central to the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), but most PCMH evaluations measure team structure exclusively. We assessed team-based care in terms of team structure, process and effectiveness, and the association with improvements in teams? abilities to deliver patient-centered care. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We fielded a cross-sectional survey among 913 VA primary care clinics implementing a PCMH model in 2012. The dependent variable was clinic-level respondent-reported improvements in delivery of patient-centered care. Independent variables included three sets of measures: (1) team structure, (2) team process, and (3) team effectiveness. We adjusted for clinic workload and patient comorbidity. RESULTS: 4819 surveys were returned (25% estimated response rate). The highest ratings were for team structure (median of 89% of respondents being assigned to a teamlet, i.e., a PCP working with the same clinical associate, nurse care manager and clerk) and lowest for team process (median of 10% of respondents reporting the lowest level of stress/chaos). In multivariable regression, perceived improvements in patient-centered care were most strongly associated with participatory decision making (β=32, P<0.0001) and history of change in the clinic (β=18, P=0008) (both team processes). A stressful/chaotic clinic environment was associated with higher barriers to patient centered care (β=0.16–0.34, P=<0.0001), and lower improvements in patient-centered care (β=−0.19, P=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Team process and effectiveness measures, often omitted from PCMH evaluations, had stronger associations with perceived improvements in patient-centered care than team structure measures. IMPLICATIONS: Team process and effectiveness measures may facilitate synthesis of evaluation findings and help identify positive outlier clinics.

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