Primary Care Practices Adapt to COVID-19 with More Processes

American Academy of Family Physicians

Although primary care clinics were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a study by Minnesota researchers showed that care management processes for chronic disease care in the primary care setting generally increased from 2019 to 2021. The team used data from 269 primary care clinics in 2017, 2019 and 2021, as well as data from 287 clinics that completed surveys in only one or two years, to learn whether the pandemic’s disruptions compromised health care for people with chronic conditions. Overall care management process scores increased by similar amounts (1.6% and 2.1%) from 2017-2019 and from 2019-2021. However, the score for two care management process areas, specifically performance and management of high-risk patients and hospitalizations, decreased in 2021. Clinics affiliated with larger organizations had higher care management process scores when compared to clinics in smaller organizations. Scores were lower in rural areas compared to urban area clinics. This improvement occurred despite reports from 55% of clinic leaders that the pandemic had been extremely or very disruptive. According to the researchers, increasing highly organized care management practices may be an important step in recovering from losses in health care service quality.

COVID-19 Impacts on Primary Care Clinic Care Management Processes

Leif I. Solberg, MD, et al

HealthPartners Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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