The Bottom Line: Taking Innovation To Scale In Primary Care Practices: The Functions Of Health Care Extension

Sarah Ono, PhD, ESCALATES Qualitative Team Co-Lead

Background

When new information or clinical guidelines are released, practices may need help to implement the necessary care changes. The problem is that there often is no organization available that has both the resources and sensitivities to practice needs to provide that help in acceptable ways. In EvidenceNOW, seven regional cooperative groups tested whether a diffusion model based on a proven 20th century agricultural extension service might solve this problem for health care.

 

Useful Findings

We have learned that health care extensions on a state or regional level can be implemented to deliver support for:

  • Using quality improvement methods
  • Taking advantage of the information in electronic medical records
  • Building practice capacity

Although the approaches to building health care extension services varied among the seven cooperatives, the model appears to be  flexible enough to accommodate widely varying regional and practice needs.

 

The Bottom Line

With the right kinds of investments, states or regional organizations can develop health care extension services that can provide practices with robust and coordinated support services and can help support quality improvement.

 

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