Delegating Responsibility from Clinicians to Nonprofessional Personnel: The Example of Hypertension Control
ABSTRACT Involving nonclinician personnel in the treatment of hypertension may provide a solution to improve blood pressure control; however, this team-based approach cannot be implemented without first determining clinicians' willingness to delegate patient care to nonclinician team members. This study explores clinicians' perspectives on working with nonclinicians trained as "health coaches" to address medication adherence and lack of medication intensification among low-income patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
We used a qualitative research approach to determine clinicians' opinions on the Treat-to-Target study, an intervention to improve blood pressure control. We conducted focus groups with clinicians who practice family medicine in a safety net clinic. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Seven overarching themes emerged: (1) Clinicians support the delegation of functions to health coaches; (2) clinicians like the high frequency of coach-patient interactions; (3) clinicians feel that health coaching assists medication adherence; (4) clinicians have varying views on home titration; (5) coach-clinician communication is necessary for successful delegation; (6) coaching helps clinicians understand their patients' barriers to hypertension control; and (7) clinicians would like health coaching to continue on a permanent basis.
Clinicians appreciate the presence of nonclinicians on the primary care team. In the coming era of primary care clinician shortage, clinicians can be supportive of nonprofessional team members assisting with the care of patients with hypertension.
- The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 03/2012; 25(2):143-5. DOI:10.3122/jabfm.2012.02.120007 · 1.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Poor blood pressure control is common in the United States. We conducted a study to determine whether health coaching with home titration of antihypertensive medications can improve blood pressure control compared with health coaching alone in a low-income, predominantly minority population. We randomized 237 patients with poorly controlled hypertension at a primary care clinic to receive either home blood pressure monitoring, weekly health coaching, and home titration of blood pressure medications if blood pressures were elevated (n = 129) vs home blood pressure monitoring and health coaching but no home titration (n = 108). The primary outcome was change in systolic blood pressure from baseline to 6 months. Both the home-titration arm and the no-home-titration arm had a reduction in systolic blood pressure, with no significant difference between them. When both arms were combined and analyzed as a before-after study, there was a mean decrease in systolic blood pressure of 21.8 mm Hg (P <.001) as well as a decrease in the number of primary care visits from 3.5 in the 6 months before the study to 2.6 during the 6-month study period (P <.001) and 2.4 in the 6 months after the study (P <.001). The more coaching encounters patients had, the greater their reduction in blood pressure. Blood pressure control in a low-income, minority population can be improved by teaching patients to monitor their blood pressure at home and having nonprofessional health coaches assist patients, in particular, by counseling them on medication adherence. The improved blood pressure control can be achieved while reducing the time spent by physicians.The Annals of Family Medicine 05/2012; 10(3):199-205. DOI:10.1370/afm.1369 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The "office nurse" or clinical associate (registered nurse [RN], licensed practical nurse[LPN], or medical assistant [MA]) is a key member of the family medicine care team, but little is known about the influence of their level of training on team performance. The performance of the clinical dyad (clinician and associate) was studied in relation to the level of training of the nurse. The dyad's performance was measured by the performance indicators of diabetes scores, patient satisfaction, and productivity. Dyads with a RN scored higher in meeting all 5 of the diabetes quality indicators (27.8%) than those with a LPN (19.3%) or an MA (14.7%). For patient satisfaction, the RN dyads also scored higher than the other dyad groups (positive responses: RN, 96.8%; LPN, 95.5%; MA, 94.6%). Productivity was the same in all groups. Better diabetes performance was seen in those practices with fewer competing demands: nonrural versus rural (22.2% vs 15.1%, respectively), and those not doing obstetrics versus those doing obstetrics (20.3% vs 15.1%, respectively), and for physicians versus associate providers (18.8% vs 15.1%, respectively). Higher patient satisfaction was observed in those dyads who were nonrural verus rural (96.6 vs 94.1%), among those doing obstetrics (96.0% vs 94.9%), and in physicians verus associate providers (95.7% vs 93.2%). The number of years working with the same clinician was twice as high for RNs (6.63) and LPNs (6.57) than for MAs (3.29). A higher level of education of the clinical associate seems to confer skills that enhance the care team's management of chronic illness such as diabetes. This could potentially decrease the practice burden on other team members while facilitating the team's objectives in meeting quality indicators.The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 11/2012; 25(6):854-61. DOI:10.3122/jabfm.2012.06.110138 · 1.85 Impact Factor