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Care coordination for veterans with COPD: a positive deviance study.

Anderson E, Wiener RS, Resnick K, Elwy AR, Rinne ST. Care coordination for veterans with COPD: a positive deviance study. The American journal of managed care. 2020 Feb 1; 26(2):63-68.

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OBJECTIVES: Improving chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care and reducing hospital readmissions is an urgent healthcare system priority. However, little is known about the organizational factors that underlie intersite variation in readmission rates. Evidence from other chronic diseases points to care coordination as one such factor. STUDY DESIGN: To understand whether intersite differences in care coordination may be one of the organizational factors contributing to the variation in readmission rates, we examined provider perspectives on COPD care at Veterans Affairs (VA) sites. METHODS: In this mixed-methods positive deviance study, we selected 3 VA sites in the lowest quartile and 3 in the highest quartile for 2016 risk-adjusted COPD readmission rates. During June to October 2017, we conducted semistructured interviews with primary and specialty care providers involved in COPD care at VA sites with low (n = 14) and high (n = 11) readmission rates. RESULTS: Although providers at all sites referenced ongoing readmission reduction initiatives, only providers at low-readmission sites described practice environments characterized by high relational coordination (ie, high-quality work relationships and high-quality communication). They also reported fewer significant structural barriers to collaboration in areas like patient volume. CONCLUSIONS: The most notable differences between high- and low-readmission sites were related to the quality of relational coordination and the presence of structural barriers to coordination, rather than specific readmission reduction initiatives. Implementing organizational reforms aimed at enhancing relational coordination and removing structural barriers would enhance care for COPD and may improve quality of care for other chronic conditions.

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