Ashley Kay Fryer
Dissertation Title: "Improving Health Care Delivery: Patient Care Integration and Manager Commitment"
This dissertation investigates how patient-perceived integrated care and manager commitment influence the improvement and integration of health care delivery. Using survey instruments, across three studies I examine potential mechanisms for improving health care delivery: patient perceptions of integrated care, a physician organization care management program, and manager commitment to a quality improvement program.
In Chapter Two, I examine how patient-perceived integrated care relates to utilization of health services. I assess relationships between provider performance on 11 domains of patient-reported integrated care and rates of emergency department (ED) visits, hospital admissions, and outpatient visits. I find better performance on two of the surveyed dimensions of integrated care are significantly associated with lower ED visit rates: information flow to other providers in doctor’s office and responsiveness independent of visits. Better performance on three dimensions of integrated care is associated with lower outpatient visit rates: information flow to specialist, post-visit information flow to the patient, and continuous familiarity with patient over time. No dimension of integration is associated with hospital admission rates.
In Chapter Three, I use the same patient sample to evaluate the achievement of integrated care by a care management program (CMP) from the perspective of older patients with multiple chronic conditions. Survey results suggest that patient perceptions of integrated care vary substantially among survey items and domains. CMP enrollment is significantly associated with greater patient perceptions of care integration in two domains: connecting patients to home services and being responsive independent of visits, domains that were targeted for improvement by the CMP. Enrollment in the CMP is not significantly associated with other domains of integration.
In Chapter Four, I assess whether and how senior and middle manager commitment to a falls reduction quality improvement (QI) program is associated with the successful implementation of the program. Survey results suggest managers’ affective commitment to the program is positively associated with program implementation success across all managerial levels surveyed (senior managers, middle managers, and assistant middle managers). Stronger frontline worker support for the falls QI program partially mediates the relationship between manager affective commitment and falls program implementation success for middle managers and assistant middle managers, but not for senior managers. Manager affective commitment to the falls program mediates the relationship between organizational support for the falls program and program implementation success across all managerial levels.
Together, these studies advance our understanding of how patient-perceived integrated care, care management programs, and manager commitment to a quality improvement program influence the integration and improvement of health care delivery. Findings demonstrate how patient reports of integration can be useful guides to improving health systems. Dissertation results also provide empirical evidence of a relationship between manager commitment—at both the middle and senior manager levels—and successful QI program implementation. In addition, these studies provide practical implications for physicians and hospital managers seeking ways to improve the quality and integration of health care delivery.