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Informing Proactive integrated virtual healthcare resource use in primary care.

Haun JN, Cotner BA, Melillo C, Panaite V, Messina W, Patel-Teague S, Zilka B. Informing Proactive integrated virtual healthcare resource use in primary care. BMC health services research. 2021 Aug 12; 21(1):802.

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BACKGROUND: Proactive integrated virtual healthcare resource (VHR) use can improve efficiency, maximize resource capacity for delivering optimal coordinated care and improve patient outcomes. Proactive integrated VHR use is vital for delivering high quality care. Our objectives were to identify proactive integrated VHR use among primary care teams, best practices and targeted implementation strategies to promote proactive integrated VHR use. METHODS: This is a mixed-method descriptive study. We employed a community-based participatory approach to collect data and the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to analyze and contextualize findings. A cross-sectional sample of primary care team members (n  = 65) from a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center participated in focus groups, follow-up interviews (n  = 16), and respond to self-report surveys. Operational subject matter experts (n  = 15) participated in informant interviews. RESULTS: Survey data described current use and factors that influenced singular VHR use and were convergent with qualitative findings. Focus group and interview data described no evidence of proactive integrated VHR use. Differences and similarities were identified between both utilization groups, such as facilitators and barriers, recommendations, patient education and preferred implementation strategies. All groups reported issues around VHR availability knowledge and access and functionality. Participants identified the need for best practices that are specific to care tasks and performance measures. Expert informant interviews identified a list of VHR tools that could be proactively integrated across the healthcare continuum. CONCLUSIONS: Health systems are leveraging technologies to proactively integrate VHR to maximize information exchange, clinical decision support and patient engagement. VHR is critical during global pandemics, such as COVID-19, to maintain access to care coordination and delivery while abiding by public health recommendations. Though recent requirements for reducing contact create an intrinsic motivation, cultural change through education and best practices of proactive integrated use across the healthcare continuum is needed to create a culture of VHR super users.

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