Group Health Cooperative's Transformation Toward Patient-Centered Access

Medical Care Research and Review
Vol. 66, No. 6
June 23, 2009
Ralston, J.D., Martin, D.P., Anderson, M.L., Fishman, P.A., Conrad, D.A., Larson, E.B., and D. Grembowski
pp. 703-24

The Institute of Medicine suggests redesigning health care to ensure safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered care. The concept of patient-centered access supports these goals. Group Health, a mixed-model health care system, attempted to improve patients' access to care through the following changes: (a) offering a patient Web site with patient access to patient-physician secure e-mail, electronic medical records, and health promotion information; (b) offering advanced access to primary physicians; (c) redesigning primary care services to enhance care efficiency; (d) offering direct access to physician specialists; and (e) aligning primary physician compensation through incentives for patient satisfaction, productivity, and secure messaging with patients. In the 2 years following the redesign, patients reported higher satisfaction with certain aspects of access to care, providers reported improvements in the quality of service given to patients, and enrollment in Group Health stayed aligned with statewide trends in health care coverage.

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