A Randomized Trial of High-Value Change Using Practice Facilitation

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To understand how focused versus general practice facilitation can impact goal setting, action planning, and team performance in primary care transformation.


Practice transformation in primary care is a crucial part of health reform, but can fatigue teams, leading to variable results. Practice facilitation may reduce primary care fatigue to help teams reach challenging transformation goals, but may require a more focused approach than previous studies suggest.


We performed a 12-month cluster randomized trial, during which 8 primary care clinics received practice facilitation. Four practices in the intervention arm received targeted facilitation to focus quality improvement (QI) goals on high-value elements (HVEs) intended to reduce cost and utilization, whereas 4 control practices received generalized QI facilitation. We investigated the impact of the targeted versus generalized approach on goal selection, action item selection and achievement, HVE attainment, and collaborative practice, using quantitative and qualitative methods.


Intervention clinics selected an average of 7 goals and 29 action items, compared with 8 goals and 40 action items among controls. Eighty-three percent of intervention goals were related to HVEs, compared with 27% of goals among controls. Intervention clinics selected 101 HVE goals and met 68%, while controls selected 41 and met 61%. Analysis of pre-post practice surveys indicated greater improvement among intervention across 4 of 8 domains of collaborative practice.


Targeted facilitation may be more effective than a generalized approach to support practices in reaching high-value change goals, as well as fostering improvement of team focus on goals, roles and responsibilities.

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