This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
One in four Americans has more than one chronic condition. Chronic conditions are long-term health problems that require ongoing medical care and may limit daily activities. Examples of chronic conditions include diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.
People with multiple chronic conditions may need more time than an office visit allows to talk with their primary care doctor about all their health concerns. Patients may also want to focus on different health problems than their doctors do. The research team wants to study ways to help patients with multiple health problems talk to their doctors about their health concerns and priorities so that office visits focus on what matters most to patients. In this study, the team is comparing usual care with an app for tablet computers called Visit Planner. The app helps patients get ready for primary care visits.
Who can this research help?
Findings from the study can help primary care doctors and health system administrators learn about ways to improve communication between patients and primary care doctors during office visits.
What is the research team doing?
Researchers are enrolling 450 primary care patients ages 30 years or older whose medical records show at least one unmet health need. Unmet needs can include being overdue to get a screening test, being at high risk for certain health problems, not taking medicines as prescribed, or being a smoker. Two types of patients can take part in the study:
- New patients with three or fewer visits to the primary care provider in the past 18 months
- Patients who have four or more prescribed medicines, are in a long-term disease management program, or recently stayed in a hospital or went to the emergency department
The research team is identifying patients when they schedule an appointment with a primary care provider. A team member meets patients in the waiting room before their appointments and assigns patients to one of two groups by chance. One group receives an educational handout on healthy lifestyle. The other group uses a tablet computer with the Visit Planner app. The app prompts patients to identify their top health concerns and discuss the concerns with their doctors. Patients can print out their responses to discuss with the doctor. All patients complete a telephone survey one week after the visit. The survey asks patients how well their doctors communicated and whether the patients were satisfied with the care they received. The team also collects information from patients’ electronic health records to assess changes in quality of care.
The research team is working with patients and doctors to design and conduct the study and develop the Visit Planner app.