Using the Relational Coordination Instrument With a Diverse Patient Sample

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Abstract

Background:

The Relational Coordination (RC) instrument has been used extensively in the context of health care interprofessional coordination. However, the instrument’s applicability to patient experiences of their interactions with professionals is largely untested.

Objectives:

This study’s objectives were to determine: (1) whether the RC instrument could be modified for phone administration to yield internally consistent results when used with a diverse group of patients with complex health needs; and (2) whether the RC factor was invariant across patients of differing education, levels of emotional problems, race, and ethnicity, thereby showing similar interpretation of items across these groups.

Research Design:

The RC instrument was administered through a phone survey to patients in Texas (n=346) who reported receiving care coordination. Data collection occurred between 2014 and 2016. Cronbach α coefficients and confirmatory factor analysis were used to determine whether the original set of RC items could be used for phone surveys with patients. Factorial invariance testing was used to assess how consistently the instrument was interpreted across patient subgroups.

Results:

The RC scale generally met acceptable α statistic and confirmatory factor analysis thresholds for internal consistency. Factorial invariance results indicated that the scale also generally performed consistently across patient subgroups.

Conclusions:

This study provides preliminary evidence that the RC instrument can be used for surveying diverse patient populations. Future use of this instrument with patients can better reflect their experiences as partners with professionals in improving their health.

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