Background: The relationship between health care practices' capacity for change and the results and sustainability of interventions to improve health care delivery is unclear.
Methods: In the setting of an intervention to increase preventive service delivery (PSD), we assessed practice capacity for change by rating motivation to change and instrumental ability to change on a one to four scale. After combining these ratings into a single score, random effects models tested its association with change in PSD rates from baseline to immediately after intervention completion and 12 months later.
Results: Our measure of practices' capacity for change varied widely at baseline (range 2-8; mean 4.8 +/- 1.6). Practices with greater capacity for change delivered preventive services to eligible patients at higher rates after completion of the intervention (2.7% per unit increase in the combined effort score, p < 0.001). This relationship persisted for 12 months after the intervention ended (3.1%, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Greater capacity for change is associated with a higher probability that a practice will attain and sustain desired outcomes. Future work to refine measures of this practice characteristic may be useful in planning and implementing interventions that result in sustained, evidence-based improvements in health care delivery.