4 research outputs found

    Delivery of clinical preventive services in family medicine offices.

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    BACKGROUND: This study aimed to elucidate how clinical preventive services are delivered in family practices and how this information might inform improvement efforts. METHODS: We used a comparative case study design to observe clinical preventive service delivery in 18 purposefully selected Midwestern family medicine offices from 1997 to 1999. Medical records, observation of outpatient encounters, and patient exit cards were used to calculate practice-level rates of delivery of clinical preventive services. Field notes from direct observation of clinical encounters and prolonged observation of the practice and transcripts from in-depth interviews of practice staff and physicians were systematically examined to identify approaches to delivering clinical preventive services recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force. RESULTS: Practices developed individualized approaches for delivering clinical preventive services, with no one approach being successful across practices. Clinicians acknowledged a 3-fold mission of providing acute care, managing chronic problems, and prevention, but only some made prevention a priority. The clinical encounter was a central focus for preventive service delivery in all practices. Preventive services delivery rates often appeared to be influenced by competing demands within the clinical encounter (including between different preventive services), having a physician champion who prioritized prevention, and economic concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Practice quality improvement efforts that assume there is an optimal approach for delivering clinical preventive services fail to account for practices\u27 propensity to optimize care processes to meet local contexts. Interventions to enhance clinical preventive service delivery should be tailored to meet the local needs of practices and their patient populations

    A Practice Change Model for Quality Improvement in Primary Care Practice.

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    Faced with a rapidly changing healthcare environment, primary care practices often have to change how they practice medicine. Yet change is difficult, and the process by which practice improvement can be understood and facilitated has not been well elucidated. Therefore, we developed a model of practice change using data from a quality improvement intervention that was successful in creating a sustainable practice improvement. A multidisciplinary team evaluated data from the Study To Enhance Prevention by Understanding Practice (STEP-UP), a randomized clinical trial conducted to improve the delivery of evidence-based preventive services in 79 northeastern Ohio practices. The team conducted comparative case-study analyses of high- and low-improvement practices to identify variables that are critical to the change process and to create a conceptual model for the change. The model depicts the critical elements for understanding and guiding practice change and emphasizes the importance of these elements\u27 evolving interrelationships. These elements are (1) motivation of key stakeholders to achieve the target for change; (2) instrumental, personal, and interactive resources for change; (3) motivators outside the practice, including the larger healthcare environment and community; and (4) opportunities for change--that is, how key stakeholders understand the change options. Change is influenced by the complex interaction of factors inside and outside the practice. Interventions that are based on understanding the four key elements and their interrelationships can yield sustainable quality improvements in primary care practice

    Understanding Organizational Designs of Primary Care Practices.

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    During the past decade, many hospitals experienced difficulty integrating primary care practices into their health systems. We hypothesized that this difficulty may be, in part, a result of limited understanding of practice organizational designs. The structure and function of practices have not been well studied. In this article, we answer the following questions: Are practices all the same, or do variations in their organizational design exist? Do hospital designs predict the designs of affiliated practices? If variation exists, what are the management implications? Eighteen family practices, including nine affiliated with five separate hospital systems, were studied using an in-depth comparative case study design. A content analysis of the rich descriptive data from these cases indicates that a great variety exists in the organizational design of primary care practices, and this variety appears to be influenced by the initial conditions under which the practice was organized. Hospital system design in and of itself did not predict the design of affiliated practices. In fact, both affiliated and independent practices exhibited a range of design characteristics, some of which did not fit traditional models. Hospital systems that allowed greater flexibility of practice organizational designs were more effective at integrating and managing practices. Practices response to environmental change was greater when practice autonomy was highest. These findings suggest that a science of practice organizational design separate from that of hospitals is needed to help explain the success and failure of practices within health systems and to provide information for planning practice change