Clinician perspectives on the benefits of practice facilitation for small primary care practices

Erin S. Rogers, Allison M. Cuthel, Carolyn A. Berry, Sue A. Kaplan, Donna R. Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE Small independent primary care practices (SIPs) often lack the resources to implement system changes. HealthyHearts NYC, funded through the EvidenceNOW initiative of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, studied the effectiveness of practice facilitation to improve cardiovascular disease– related care in 257 SIPs. We sought to understand SIP clinicians’ perspectives on the benefits of practice facilitation. METHODS We conducted in-depth interviews with 19 SIP clinicians enrolled in HealthyHearts NYC. Interviews were transcribed and coded using deductive and inductive approaches. To understand whether the perceived benefits of practice facilitation differ based on the availability of internal staff for quality improvement (QI), we compared themes pertaining to benefits between practices with 3 or fewer office staff vs more than 3 office staff. RESULTS Clinicians perceived 2 main benefits of practice facilitation. First, facilitators served as a connection to the external health care environment for SIPs, often through teaching and information sharing. Second, facilitators provided electronic health record (EHR)/data expertise, often by teaching functionality and completing technical assistance and tasks. SIPs with more than 3 office staff felt that facilitators provided benefits primarily through teaching, whereas SIPs with 3 or fewer staff felt that facilitators also provided hands-on support. At the intersections of these benefits, there emerged 3 central practice facilitation benefits: (1) creating awareness of quality gaps, (2) connecting practices to information, resources, and strategies, and (3) optimizing the EHR for QI goals. CONCLUSIONS SIP clinicians perceived practice facilitation to be an important resource for connecting their practice to the external health care environment and resources, and helping their practice build QI capacity through teaching, hands-on support, and EHR-driven solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S17-S23
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue numberSuppl 1
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Health information technology
  • Organizational change
  • Physician perspective
  • Practice facilitation
  • Practice transformation
  • Practice-based research
  • Primary care
  • Professional practice
  • Qualitative research
  • Small independent primary care practices
  • Primary Health Care/organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Quality Improvement
  • Female
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Electronic Health Records/organization & administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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