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Development of the Primary Care Quality-Homeless (PCQ-H) instrument: a practical survey of homeless patients' experiences in primary care.

Kertesz SG, Pollio DE, Jones RN, Steward J, Stringfellow EJ, Gordon AJ, Johnson NK, Kim TA, Daigle SG, Austin EL, Young AS, Chrystal JG, Davis LL, Roth DL, Holt CL. Development of the Primary Care Quality-Homeless (PCQ-H) instrument: a practical survey of homeless patients' experiences in primary care. Medical care. 2014 Aug 1; 52(8):734-42.

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BACKGROUND: Homeless patients face unique challenges in obtaining primary care responsive to their needs and context. Patient experience questionnaires could permit assessment of patient-centered medical homes for this population, but standard instruments may not reflect homeless patients' priorities and concerns. OBJECTIVES: This report describes (a) the content and psychometric properties of a new primary care questionnaire for homeless patients; and (b) the methods utilized in its development. METHODS: Starting with quality-related constructs from the Institute of Medicine, we identified relevant themes by interviewing homeless patients and experts in their care. A multidisciplinary team drafted a preliminary set of 78 items. This was administered to homeless-experienced clients (n = 563) across 3 VA facilities and 1 non-VA Health Care for the Homeless Program. Using Item Response Theory, we examined Test Information Function (TIF) curves to eliminate less informative items and devise plausibly distinct subscales. RESULTS: The resulting 33-item instrument (Primary Care Quality-Homeless) has 4 subscales: Patient-Clinician Relationship (15 items), Cooperation among Clinicians (3 items), Access/Coordination (11 items), and Homeless-specific Needs (4 items). Evidence for divergent and convergent validity is provided. TIF graphs showed adequate informational value to permit inferences about groups for 3 subscales (Relationship, Cooperation, and Access/Coordination). The 3-item Cooperation subscale had lower informational value (TIF < 5) but had good internal consistency ( = 0.75) and patients frequently reported problems in this aspect of care. CONCLUSIONS: Systematic application of qualitative and quantitative methods supported the development of a brief patient-reported questionnaire focused on the primary care of homeless patients and offers guidance for future population-specific instrument development.

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