The Role of Practice Facilitators in Meeting the HIT Needs of Rural Practices

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January 2017

Ann Lefebvre, MSW, CPHQ; Mary McCaskill; Kristin Reiter, PhD; Jason Mose, MS, MBA, CHFP, PhD; Erin P. Fraher, PhD; Warren P. Newton, MD, MPH


Research Brief Conclusions and Implications for Policy:

1)New federal policies like MACRA are changing payment mechanisms to focus more on quality of care and information technology, but this could have a negative impact on the viability of rural-based practices if they are not supported in the mechanisms needed to receive payments.

2)The growing emphasis placed on primary and preventive care to reduce costs will require a consistent rise in the sophistication of delivery mechanisms within the primary care practice setting. A flexible workforce that includes practice facilitators is needed to ensure that federal healthcare policy changes are implemented at the ground level of healthcare service delivery.

3)The growing and emerging field of practice facilitation is strengthened by the diversity of the prior professional experience that facilitators bring to their roles, but strong training and support mechanisms must be in place to retrain our existing workforce. Practice facilitation training programs must be strong, but agile, to keep pace with the growing breadth of skills required for primary care practices to succeed in the changing health care environment. The cost of maintaining such programs may be well worth it if they are able to help the traditional healthcare workforce achieve the goals of higher quality of care at a lower, more sustainable, cost that appear out of reach today.

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