Health Services Research & Development

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Blaum CS, Rosen J, Naik AD, Smith CD, Dindo L, Vo L, Hernandez-Bigos K, Esterson J, Geda M, Ferris R, Costello D, Acampora D, Meehan T, Tinetti ME. Feasibility of Implementing Patient Priorities Care for Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2018 Oct 3; 66(10):2009-2016.
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Abstract: Older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) receive care that is fragmented and burdensome, lacks evidence, and most importantly is not focused on what matters most to them. An implementation feasibility study of Patient Priorities Care (PPC), a new approach to care that is based on health outcome goals and healthcare preferences, was conducted. This study took place at 1 primary care and 1 cardiology practice in Connecticut and involved 9 primary care providers (PCPs), 5 cardiologists, and 119 older adults with MCCs. PPC was implemented using methods based on a practice change framework and continuous plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles. Core elements included leadership support, clinical champions, priorities facilitators, training, electronic health record (EHR) support, workflow development and continuous modification, and collaborative learning. PPC processes for clinic workflow and decision-making were developed, and clinicians were trained. After 10 months, 119 older adults enrolled and had priorities identified; 92 (77%) returned to their PCP after priorities identification. In 56 (46%) of these visits, clinicians documented patient priorities discussions. Workflow challenges identified and solved included patient enrollment lags, EHR documentation of priorities discussions, and interprofessional communication. Time for clinicians to provide PPC remains a challenge, as does decision-making, including clinicians' perceptions that they are already doing so; clinicians' concerns about guidelines, metrics, and unrealistic priorities; and differences between PCPs and patients and between PCPs and cardiologists about treatment decisions. PDSA cycles and continuing collaborative learning with national experts and peers are taking place to address workflow and clinical decision-making challenges. Translating disease-based to priorities-aligned decision-making appears challenging but feasible to implement in a clinical setting.