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Creating a Toolkit to Reduce Disparities in Patient Engagement

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Abstract

Background:

Patient engagement has become a major focus of health care improvement efforts nationally. Although evidence suggests patient engagement can be beneficial to patients, it has not been consistently defined, operationalized, or translated into practice.

Objectives:

Our objective was to develop a toolkit to help providers increase patient engagement and reduce disparities in patient engagement.

Research Design:

We used qualitative interviews and observations with staff at primary care sites nationally to identify patient engagement practices and resources used to engage patients. We then used a modified Delphi process, that included a series of conference calls and surveys, where stakeholders reduced lists of engagement practices based on perceived feasibility and importance to develop a toolkit for patient engagement.

Sampling:

Sites were selected for interviews and site visits based on the concentration of minority patients served and performance on a measure of patient engagement, with the goal of highlighting practices at sites that successfully serve minority patients.

Results:

We created a toolkit consisting of patient engagement practices and resources. No identified practice or resource specifically targeted patient engagement of minorities or addressed disparities. However, high-performing, high–minority-serving sites tended to describe more staff training opportunities and staff feedback mechanisms. In addition, low-performing and high–minority-serving sites more often reported barriers to implementation of patient engagement practices.

Conclusions:

Stakeholders agreed on feasible and important engagement practices. Implementation of this toolkit will be tracked to better understand patient engagement and its effect on patient-centered care and related disparities in care.

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