Integrating Personalized Care Planning into Primary Care: a Multiple-Case Study of Early Adopting Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Rendelle E. Bolton, Barbara G. Bokhour, Timothy P. Hogan, Tana M. Luger, Mollie Ruben, Gemmae M. Fix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Personalized care planning is a patient-centered, whole-person approach to treatment planning. Personalized care plans improve patient outcomes and are now mandated for chronic care management reimbursement. Yet guidance on how to best implement personalized care planning in practice is limited. Objective: We examined the adoption of personalized care planning in patient-centered medical home (PCMH) clinics to identify processes and organizational characteristics that facilitated or hindered use in routine practice. Design: Qualitative multiple-case study design. We conducted site visits at PCMH clinics in four US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers. Data included 10 general clinic observations, 34 direct observations of patient-provider clinical encounters, 60 key informant interviews, and a document review. Data were analyzed via qualitative content analysis using a priori and emergent coding. Participants: Employees and patients participating in clinical encounters in PCMH clinics at four VHA medical centers. Key Results: Each clinic used a distinct approach to personalized care planning: (1) distributed tasks approach; (2) two-tiered approach; (3) health coaching approach; and (4) leveraging a village approach. Each varied in workflow, healthcare team utilization, and degree of integration into clinical care. Across sites, critical components for implementation included expanding planning beyond initial assessment of patient priorities; framing the initiative for patients; using a team-based approach to care plan development and updates; using communication mechanisms beyond the electronic health record; and engaging stakeholders in implementation planning. Conclusions: Personalized care planning is a novel patient-centered practice, but complicated to implement. We found variation in effective implementation and identified critical components to structuring this practice in a manner that engages patients in treatment aligned with personal priorities. Primary care practices seeking to implement personalized care planning must go beyond simply asking patients a series of questions to establish a plan. They must also engage team members in plan development, communication, and dissemination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-436
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Veterans
  • patient-centered care
  • primary care
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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