Evaluation of the group health cooperative access initiative: Study design challenges in estimating the impact of a large-scale organizational transformation

Group Health Cooperative, Center for Health Studies, Washington, Seattle, USA.
Quality management in health care 10/2008; 17(4):292-303. DOI: 10.1097/01.QMH.0000338550.67393.a9
Source: PubMed


The Institute of Medicine argues that poorly designed delivery systems are a major cause of low-quality care in the United States but does not present methods for evaluating whether its recommendations, when implemented by a health care organization, actually improve quality of care. We describe how time-series study designs using individual-level longitudinal data can be applied to address methodological challenges in our evaluation of the impact of the Group Health Cooperative "Access Initiative," an integrated set of 7 "patient-centered" reforms in its integrated delivery system that are consistent with the Institute of Medicine's recommendations. The methods may be generalizable to evaluating similar reforms in other integrated delivery systems with representative patient and physician data sources.

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    • "The theoretic basis for the initiative is grounded in the concept of patient centered access (Berry et al., 2003) and three of the six aims of the IOM (patient-centeredness, timeliness, and efficiency; IOM, 2001). Further description of the conceptual framework for the evaluation is presented elsewhere (Grembowski et al., 2008). We defined pre-Initiative, rollout, and post-Initiative time periods based on the implementation dates of the Initiative's components (Figure 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: The Institute of Medicine suggests redesigning health care to ensure safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care. The concept of patient-centered access supports these goals. Group Health, a mixed-model health care system, attempted to improve patients' access to care through the following changes: (a) offering a patient Web site with patient access to patient-physician secure e-mail, electronic medical records, and health promotion information; (b) offering advanced access to primary physicians; (c) redesigning primary care services to enhance care efficiency; (d) offering direct access to physician specialists; and (e) aligning primary physician compensation through incentives for patient satisfaction, productivity, and secure messaging with patients. In the 2 years following the redesign, patients reported higher satisfaction with certain aspects of access to care, providers reported improvements in the quality of service given to patients, and enrollment in Group Health stayed aligned with statewide trends in health care coverage.
    Medical Care Research and Review 07/2009; 66(6):703-24. DOI:10.1177/1077558709338486 · 2.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the extent to which medical group and market factors are related to individual primary care physician (PCP) performance on patient experience measures. This study employs Clinician and Group CAHPS survey data (n=105,663) from 2,099 adult PCPs belonging to 34 diverse medical groups across California. Medical group directors were interviewed to assess the magnitude and nature of financial incentives directed at individual physicians and the adoption of patient experience improvement strategies. Primary care services area (PCSA) data were used to characterize the market environment of physician practices. We used multilevel models to estimate the relationship between medical group and market factors and physician performance on each Clinician and Group CAHPS measure. Models statistically controlled for respondent characteristics and accounted for the clustering of respondents within physicians, physicians within medical groups, and medical groups within PCSAs using random effects. Compared with physicians belonging to independent practice associations, physicians belonging to integrated medical groups had better performance on the communication ( p=.007) and care coordination ( p=.03) measures. Physicians belonging to medical groups with greater numbers of PCPs had better performance on all measures. The use of patient experience improvement strategies was not associated with performance. Greater emphasis on productivity and efficiency criteria in individual physician financial incentive formulae was associated with worse access to care ( p=.04). Physicians located in PCSAs with higher area-level deprivation had worse performance on the access to care ( p=.04) and care coordination ( p<.001) measures. Physicians from integrated medical groups and groups with greater numbers of PCPs performed better on several patient experience measures, suggesting that organized care processes adopted by these groups may enhance patients' experiences. Physicians practicing in markets with high concentrations of vulnerable populations may be disadvantaged by constraints that affect performance. Future studies should clarify the extent to which performance deficits associated with area-level deprivation are modifiable.
    Health Services Research 07/2009; 44(3):880-901. DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.00960.x · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The authors examined whether Group Health's Access Initiative changed the utilization and costs of care among enrollees with diabetes. Using a single (one-group) interrupted time series design, repeated-measures generalized estimating equation models were used to estimate changes in utilization and costs during the Initiative rollout (2002-2003) and to compare the slopes (annual rates of change) for utilization and costs during the Pre-Initiative period (1998-2002) to the slopes during Full-Implementation (2003-2006) among 9,871 members continuously enrolled from 1997 to 2006 with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Total costs increased in Full-Implementation, but the annual change in total costs did not change. Primary care visits declined, but primary care contacts grew, largely from the Initiative's introduction of secure messaging. Specialty visits did not change; however, the Initiative may have increased emergency visits. To reduce emergency visits, future access initiatives should include proactive and comprehensive outpatient care for patients with diabetes.
    Medical Care Research and Review 05/2012; 69(5):519-39. DOI:10.1177/1077558712446705 · 2.62 Impact Factor
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