Social Features of Integration in Health Systems and Their Relationship to Provider Experience, Care Quality and Clinical Integration

Published in: Medical Care Research and Review (2021). doi: 10.1177/10775587211024796

Posted on RAND.org on June 29, 2021

by Michaela J. Kerrissey, Maike V. Tietschert, Zhanna Novikov, Hassina Bahadurzada, Anna D. Sinaiko, Veronique Martin, Sara J. Singer

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More is known about the structural features of health system integration than the social features—elements of normative integration (alignment of norms) and interpersonal integration (collaboration among professionals and with patients). We surveyed practice managers and 1,360 staff and physicians at 59 practice sites within 17 health systems (828 responses; 61%). Building on prior theory, we developed and established the psychometric properties of survey measures describing normative and interpersonal integration. Normative and interpersonal integration were both consistently related to better provider experience, perceived care quality, and clinical integration (e.g., a 1-point increase in a practice's normative integration was associated with 0.53-point higher job satisfaction and 0.77-point higher perceived care quality in the practice, measured on 1 to 5 scales, p < .01). Variation in social features of integration may help explain why some health systems better integrate care, pointing to normative and interpersonal integration as potential resources for improvement.

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