Original Research

Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 770-777

A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Implementing the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model in Solo and Small Practices

  • Judith FifieldAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterEthel Donaghue TRIPP Center Email author 
  • , Deborah Dauser ForrestAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterEthel Donaghue TRIPP Center
  • , Melanie Martin-PeeleAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterEthel Donaghue TRIPP Center
  • , Joseph A. BurlesonAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Health Center
  • , Jeanette GoyzuetaAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterEthel Donaghue TRIPP Center
  • , Marco FujimotoAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterEthel Donaghue TRIPP Center
  • , William GillespieAffiliated withEmblemHealth

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ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Transition to a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is challenging in primary care, especially for smaller practices.

OBJECTIVE

To test the effectiveness of providing external supports, including practice redesign, care management and revised payment, compared to no support in transition to PCMH among solo and small (<2–10 providers) primary care practices over 2 years.

DESIGN

Randomized Controlled Trial.

PARTICIPANTS

Eighteen supported practices (intervention) and 14 control practices (controls).

INTERVENTIONS

Intervention practices received 6 months of intensive, and 12 months of less intensive, practice redesign support; 2 years of revised payment, including cost of National Council for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Physician Practice Connections® Patient-Centered Medical Home™ (PPC®-PCMH™) submissions; and 18 months of care management support. Controls received yearly participation payments plus cost of PPC®-PCMH™.

MAIN MEASURES

PPC®-PCMH™ at baseline and 18 months, plus intervention at 7 months.

KEY RESULTS

At 18 months, 5 % of intervention practices and 79 % of control practices were not recognized by NCQA; 10 % of intervention practices and 7 % of controls achieved PPC®-PCMH™ Level 1; 5 % of intervention practices and 0 % of controls achieved PPC®-PCMH™ Level 2; and 80 % of intervention practices and 14 % of controls achieved PPC®-PCMH™ Level 3. Intervention practices were 27 times more likely to improve PPC®-PCMH™ by one level, irrespective of practice size (p < 0.001) 95 % CI (5–157). Among intervention practices, a multilevel ordinal piecewise model of change showed a significant and rapid 7-month effect (p time7 = 0.01), which was twice as large as the sustained effect over subsequent 12 months (p time18 = 0.02). Doubly multivariate analysis of variance showed significant differential change by condition across PPC®-PCMH™ standards over time (p time x group = 0.03). Intervention practices improved eight of nine standards, controls improved three of nine (p PPC1 = 0.009; p PPC2 = 0.005; p PPC3 = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

Irrespective of size, practices can make rapid and sustained transition to a PCMH when provided external supports, including practice redesign, care management and payment reform. Without such supports, change is slow and limited in scope.

KEY WORDS

patient centered care care management randomized trials primary care health care delivery