"We've not gotten even close to what we want to do": A qualitative study of early patient-centered medical home implementation

Anaïs Tuepker, Devan Kansagara, Eleni Skaperdas, Christina Nicolaidis, Sandra Joos, Michael Alperin, David Hickam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) initiative is designed to deliver a medical home model of care associated with better patient outcomes, but success will depend in part on the model's acceptability and sustainability among clinic employees. OBJECTIVE: We sought to identify key themes in the experience of primary care providers, nurse care managers, clerical and clinical associates, and clinic administrators implementing PACT, with the aim of informing recommendations for continued development of the model and its components. DESIGN: Observational qualitative study; data collection from 2010 to 2013, using role-stratified and team focus groups and semi-structured interviews. PARTICIPANTS: 241 of 337 (72 %) identified primary care clinic employees in PACT team or administrative roles, from 15 VA clinics in Oregon and Washington. APPROACH: Data coded and analyzed using conventional content analysis techniques. KEY RESULTS: Overall, participants were enthusiastic about the PACT concept, but felt necessary resources for success were not yet in place. Well-functioning teams were perceived as key to successful implementation. Development of such teams depended on adequate staffing, training, and dedicated time for team development. Changes within the broader VA system were also seen as necessary, including devolving greater control to the clinic level and improving system alignment with the PACT model. PACT advocates from among clinic and institutional level leadership were identified as a final key ingredient for success. These themes were consistent despite differences in clinic settings and characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: PACT implementation faced significant challenges in its early years. Realizing PACT's transformative potential will require acting on the needs identified by clinic workers in this study: ensuring adequate staffing in all team roles, devoting resources to in-depth training for all employees in communication and other skills needed to maximize team success, and aligning the broader VA hospital system with PACT's decentralized, team-based approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S614-S622
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Veterans
  • health services research
  • patient-centered medical home
  • primary care redesign
  • qualitative research
  • team-based care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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