Effectiveness and Reach of the Primary Palliative Care for Emergency Medicine (PRIM-ER) Pilot Study: a Qualitative Analysis

PRIM-ER Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Palliative care interventions in the ED capture high-risk patients at a time of crisis and can dramatically improve patient-centered outcomes. Objective: To understand the facilitators that contributed to the success of the Primary Palliative Care for Emergency Medicine (PRIM-ER) quality improvement pilot intervention. Design: Effectiveness was evaluated through semi-structured interviews. Reach outcomes were measured by percent of all full-time emergency providers (physicians, physician assistants, nurses) who completed the intervention education components and baseline survey assessing attitudes and knowledge on end-of-life care. Participants: Emergency medicine providers affiliated with two medical centers (N = 197). Interviews conducted with six key informants at both institutions. Approach: Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using deductive and inductive approaches. Descriptive statistics include reach outcomes and baseline survey results. Key Results: Both sites successfully implemented all components of the intervention and achieved a high level (> 75%) of intervention reach. Two themes emerged as facilitators to successful effectiveness facilitators of PRIM-ER: (1) institutional leadership support and (2) leveraging established quality improvement (QI) processes. Institutional support included leveraging leadership with authority to (a) mandate trainings; (b) substitute PRIM-ER education for normally scheduled education; and (c) provide protected time to implement intervention components. Effectiveness was also enhanced by capitalizing on existing QI processes which included (a) leveraging interdisciplinary partnerships and communication plans and (b) monitoring performance improvement data. Conclusions: Capitalizing on strong institutional leadership support and established QI processes enhanced the reach and effectiveness of the PRIM-ER pilot. These findings will guide the PRIM-ER researchers in scaling up the intervention in the remaining 33 sites, as well as enhance the planning of other complex quality improvement interventions in clinical settings. Registration Details: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03424109; Grant Number: AT009844-01.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-304
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • RE-AIM
  • adult palliative care
  • emergency medicine
  • qualitative research
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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