Background: Implementation of screening guidelines for domestic violence has been challenging. The multifaceted "systems model" may provide an effective means to improve domestic violence screening, identification, and intervention in the healthcare setting.
Methods: We developed: (1) a systems model approach using tools for effective referral, evaluation, and reporting of domestic violence; (2) materials for distribution to female patients; (3) training for social service and mental health clinicians to provide domestic violence evaluation; and (4) strong links to the community.
Setting: A nonprofit, managed care facility in Richmond, California.
Participants: Staff and members of the managed care plan.
Main outcome measures: (1) Increased screening for domestic violence by clinicians; (2) increased awareness of the healthcare facility as a resource for domestic violence assistance; and (3) increased member satisfaction with the health plan's efforts to address domestic violence.
Results: The number of clinician referrals and patient self-referrals to an on-site domestic violence evaluator increased more than twofold. A pre-intervention and post-intervention phone survey of members seen for routine checkup showed an increase in member recall of being asked about domestic violence. After intervention, statistically significant increases were seen in members' perception that the health plan was concerned about the health effects of domestic violence (p<0.0001) and about members' satisfaction with the health plan's efforts to address this issue (p<0.0001).
Conclusions: A systems model approach improved domestic violence services in a managed care health setting within 1 year and affected clinicians' behavior as well as health plan members' experience. This successful implementation makes it possible to address critical research questions about the impact of a healthcare intervention for victims of domestic violence in a managed healthcare setting.