Implementation of Community-Based Resource Referrals for Cardiovascular Disease Self-Management

Ann Fam Med. 2020 Nov;18(6):486-495. doi: 10.1370/afm.2583.


Purpose: Describe primary care practices' implementation of CommunityRx-H3, a community resource referral intervention that utilized practice facilitators to support cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention quality improvement.

Methods: Qualitative focus groups were conducted with practice facilitators to elicit perceptions of practices' experiences with CommunityRx-H3, practice-level factors affecting, and practice facilitator strategies to promote implementation. Qualitative data were analyzed using directed content analysis. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research was applied deductively to organize and interpret findings.

Results: Fourteen of all 19 practice facilitators participated. Practice facilitators perceived that staff attitudes about connecting patients to community resources for CVD were largely positive. Practices were already using a range of non-systematic strategies to refer to community resources. Practice-level factors that facilitated CommunityRx-H3 implementation included clinician "champions," engaged practice managers, and a practice culture that valued community resources. Implementation barriers included a practice's unwillingness to integrate the intervention into existing workflows, limited staff capacity to complete the resource inventory, and unavailability or cost of materials needed to print the resource referral list ("HealtheRx-H3"). Practice facilitator strategies to promote implementation included supporting ongoing customization of the HealtheRx-H3 and material support. Practice facilitators felt implementation would be improved by integration of CommunityRx-H3 with electronic medical record workflows and alternative methods for engaging practices in the implementation process.

Conclusions: Practice facilitators are increasingly being utilized by primary care practices to support quality improvement interventions and, as shown here, can also play an important role in implementation science. This study yields insights to improve implementation of community resource referral solutions to support primary care CVD prevention efforts.

Keywords: community resource referrals; implementation science; practice facilitation; qualitative research; quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Community Health Services*
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Implementation Science
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Improvement
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*
  • Referral and Consultation / standards
  • Self-Management