Home-based primary care practices in the United States: current state and quality improvement approaches

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 May;63(5):963-9. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13382. Epub 2015 May 4.


Objectives: To describe the characteristics of home-based primary care practices: staffing, administrative, population served, care practices, and quality of care challenges.

Design: Survey of home-based primary care practices.

Setting: Home-based primary care practices in the United States.

Participants: Members of the American Academy of Home Care Medicine and nonmember providers identified by surveyed members.

Measurements: A 58-item questionnaire that assessed practice characteristics, care provided by the practice, and how the quality of care that the practice provided was assessed.

Results: Survey response rate was 47.9%, representing 272 medical house calls practices. Mean average daily census was 457 patients (median 100 patients, range 1-30,972 patients). Eighty-eight percent of practices offered around-the-clock coverage for urgent concerns, 60% held regularly scheduled team meetings, 89% used an electronic medical record, and one-third used a defined quality improvement process. The following factors were associated with practices that used a defined quality improvement process: practice holds regularly scheduled team meetings to discuss specific patients (odds ratio (OR)=2.07, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.02-4.21), practice conducts surveys of patients (OR=8.53, 95% CI=4.07-17.88), and practice is involved in National Committee for Quality Assurance patient-centered medical home (OR=3.27, 95% CI=1.18-9.07). Ninety percent of practices would or might participate in quality improvement activities that would provide them timely feedback on patient and setting-appropriate quality indicators.

Conclusions: There is a substantial heterogeneity of home-based primary care practice types. Most practices perform activities that lend themselves to robust quality improvement efforts, and nearly all indicated interest in a national registry to inform quality improvement.

Keywords: home-based palliative care; home-based primary care; house calls; quality of care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Home Care Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult