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Improving System Integration: The Art and Science of Engaging Small Community Practices in Health System Innovation
This paper focuses on successful engagement strategies in recruiting and retaining primary care physicians (PCPs) in a quality improvement project, as perceived by family physicians in small practices. Sustained physician engagement is critical for quality improvement (QI) aiming to enhance health system integration. Although there is ample literature on engaging physicians in hospital or team-based practice, fewreports describe factors influencing engagement of community-based providers practicing with limited administrative support. The PCPs we describe participated in SCOPE: Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience, a QI project designed to support their care of complex patients and reduce both emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient admissions. SCOPE outcome measures will inform subsequent papers. All the 30 participating PCPs completed surveys assessing perceptions regarding the importance of specific engagement strategies. Project team acknowledgement that primary care is challenging and new access to patient resources were the most important factors in generating initial interest in SCOPE. The opportunity to improve patient care via integration with other providers was most important in their commitment to participate, and a positive experience with project personnel was most important in their continued engagement. Our experience suggests that such providers respond well to personalized, repeated, and targeted engagement strategies.
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