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Engaging high-risk patients in intensive care coordination programs: the engagement through CARInG framework.

O'Brien CW, Breland JY, Slightam C, Nevedal A, Zulman DM. Engaging high-risk patients in intensive care coordination programs: the engagement through CARInG framework. Translational behavioral medicine. 2018 May 23; 8(3):351-356.

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Intensive outpatient care programs (IOCPs) have shown promise for high-risk patients who account for disproportionate acute care utilization and costs. These programs typically address medical, behavioral, and social needs through intensive case management, health care navigation, coordination, and access to a range of social and community services. However, the value of these programs is often limited by patient engagement challenges (i.e., difficulty engaging patients in self-care, decision-making, and follow-up with recommended services). The purpose of this study was to develop a framework for engaging high-risk patients with complex medical, behavioral, and social needs in IOCPs. We conducted a qualitative study with 20 leaders and clinicians (e.g., physicians, nurses, psychologists, case workers) from 12 IOCPs affiliated with diverse settings (academic hospitals, county healthcare systems, Veterans Affairs facilities, community health centers, and private health systems). After completing a brief survey, participants were asked to describe how their program conceptualizes patient engagement and to describe characteristics of highly engaged patients. We used conventional content analysis methods to analyze qualitative data. Three domains of engagement were identified and are summarized in the Engagement Through CARInG Framework: Communication and actions to improve health; Relationships built on trust in IOCP staff; and Insight and goal-setting ability. Qualitative findings illustrate the spectrum and interrelatedness of these domains. The Engagement Through CARInG Framework can guide interventions that aim to enhance self-care and improve care coordination for high-risk patients with complex medical, behavioral, and social needs.

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