HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Wu FM, Rubenstein LV, Yoon J. Team functioning as a predictor of patient outcomes in early medical home implementation. Health care management review. 2018 Jul 1; 43(3):238-248.
New models of patient-centered primary care such as the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) depend on high levels of interdisciplinary primary care team functioning to achieve improved outcomes. A few studies have qualitatively assessed barriers and facilitators to optimal team functioning; however, we know of no prior study that assesses PCMH team functioning in relationship to patient health outcomes.
The aim of the study was to assess the relationships between primary care team functioning, patients' use of acute care, and mortality.
Retrospective longitudinal cohort analysis of patient outcomes measured at two time points (2012 and 2013) after PCMH implementation began in Veterans Health Administration practices. Multilevel models examined practice-level measures of team functioning in relationship to patient outcomes (all-cause and ambulatory care-sensitive condition-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and mortality). We controlled for practice-level factors likely to affect team functioning, including leadership support, provider and staff burnout, and staffing sufficiency, as well as for individual patient characteristics. We also tested the model among a subgroup of vulnerable patients (homeless, mentally ill, or with dementia).
In adjusted analyses, higher team functioning was associated with lower mortality (OR = 0.92, p = .04) among all patients and with fewer all-cause admissions (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.90, p < 0.01), ambulatory care-sensitive condition-related admissions (IRR = 0.91, p = .04), and emergency department visits (IRR = 0.91, p = .03) in the vulnerable patient subgroup.
These early findings give support for the importance of team functioning within PCMH models for achieving improved patient outcomes.
A focus on team functioning is important especially in the early implementation of team-based primary care models.