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Keywords

complex adaptive systems theory, organizational change, patient-centered medical home, primary care, relationship-centered organizations

 

Authors

  1. Flieger, Signe Peterson

Abstract

Background: This study explores the implementation experience of nine primary care practices becoming patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) as part of the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative Multi-Stakeholder Medical Home Pilot.

 

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to apply complex adaptive systems theory and relationship-centered organizations theory to explore how nine diverse primary care practices in New Hampshire implemented the PCMH model and to offer insights for how primary care practices can move from a structural PCMH to a relationship-centered PCMH.

 

Methodology/Approach: Eighty-three interviews were conducted with administrative and clinical staff at the nine pilot practices, payers, and conveners of the pilot between November and December 2011. The interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using both a priori and emergent themes.

 

Findings: Although there is value in the structural components of the PCMH (e.g., disease registries), these structures are not enough. Becoming a relationship-centered PCMH requires attention to reflection, sensemaking, learning, and collaboration. This can be facilitated by settings aside time for communication and relationship building through structured meetings about PCMH components as well as the implementation process itself. Moreover, team-based care offers a robust opportunity to move beyond the structures to focus on relationships and collaboration.

 

Practice Implications: (a) Recognize that PCMH implementation is not a linear process. (b) Implementing the PCMH from a structural perspective is not enough. Although the National Committee for Quality Assurance or other guidelines can offer guidance on the structural components of PCMH implementation, this should serve only as a starting point. (c) During implementation, set aside structured time for reflection and sensemaking. (d) Use team-based care as a cornerstone of transformation. Reflect on team structures and also interactions of the team members. Taking the time to reflect will facilitate greater sensemaking and learning and will ultimately help foster a relationship-centered PCMH.