Importance: In 2010, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) began implementing the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. The Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) initiative aims to improve health outcomes through team-based care, improved access, and care management. To track progress and evaluate outcomes at all VHA primary care clinics, we developed and validated a method to assess PCMH implementation.
Objectives: To create an index that measures the extent of PCMH implementation, describe variation in implementation, and examine the association between the implementation index and key outcomes.
Design, setting, and participants: We conducted an observational study using data on more than 5.6 million veterans who received care at 913 VHA hospital-based and community-based primary care clinics and 5404 primary care staff from (1) VHA clinical and administrative databases, (2) a national patient survey administered to a weighted random sample of veterans who received outpatient care from June 1 to December 31, 2012, and (3) a survey of all VHA primary care staff in June 2012. Composite scores were constructed for 8 core domains of PACT: access, continuity, care coordination, comprehensiveness, self-management support, patient-centered care and communication, shared decision making, and team-based care.
Main outcomes and measures: Patient satisfaction, rates of hospitalization and emergency department use, quality of care, and staff burnout.
Results: Fifty-three items were included in the PACT Implementation Progress Index (Pi2). Compared with the 87 clinics in the lowest decile of the Pi2, the 77 sites in the top decile exhibited significantly higher patient satisfaction (9.33 vs 7.53; P < .001), higher performance on 41 of 48 measures of clinical quality, lower staff burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory emotional exhaustion subscale, 2.29 vs 2.80; P = .02), lower hospitalization rates for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (4.42 vs 3.68 quarterly admissions for veterans 65 years or older per 1000 patients; P < .001), and lower emergency department use (188 vs 245 visits per 1000 patients; P < .001).
Conclusions and relevance: The extent of PCMH implementation, as measured by the Pi2, was highly associated with important outcomes for both patients and providers. This measure will be used to track the effectiveness of implementing PACT over time and to elucidate the correlates of desired health outcomes.