Background: The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) relies on a team approach to patient care. For organizations engaged in transitioning to a PCMH model, identifying and providing the resources needed to promote team functioning is essential.
Objective: To describe team-level resources required to support PCMH team functioning within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and provide insight into how the presence or absence of these resources facilitates or impedes within-team delegation.
Design: Semi-structured interviews with members of pilot teams engaged in PCMH implementation in 77 primary care clinics serving over 300,000 patients across two VHA regions covering the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest United States.
Participants: A purposive sample of 101 core members of pilot teams, including 32 primary care providers, 42 registered nurse care managers, 15 clinical associates, and 12 clerical associates.
Approach: Investigators from two evaluation sites interviewed frontline primary care staff separately, and then collaborated on joint analysis of parallel data to develop a broad, comprehensive understanding of global themes impacting team functioning and within-team delegation.
Key results: We describe four themes key to understanding how resources at the team level supported ability of primary care staff to work as effective, engaged teams. Team-based task delegation was facilitated by demarcated boundaries and collective identity; shared goals and sense of purpose; mature and open communication characterized by psychological safety; and ongoing, intentional role negotiation.
Conclusions: Our findings provide a framework for organizations to identify assets already in place to support team functioning, as well as areas in need of improvement. For teams struggling to make practice changes, our results indicate key areas where they may benefit from future support. In addition, this research sheds light on how variation in medical home implementation and outcomes may be associated with variation in team-based task delegation.