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Implementing the PCMH: Practice Facilitation

What is Practice Facilitation?


There is a consensus that the U.S. primary care system can be strengthened in fundamental ways to improve health care quality, safety, and patient experience and lower costs.

A growing body of evidence supports the concept of practice facilitation as an effective strategy to improve primary health care processes and outcomes, including the delivery of wellness and preventive services, through the creation of an ongoing, trusting relationship between an external facilitator and a primary care practice. Practice facilitation activities may focus in particular on helping primary care practices become medical homes, but they can also help practices in more general quality improvement and redesign efforts.

A How-To Guide on Developing and Running a Practice Facilitation Program

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently sponsored the development of a how-to guide for organizations interested in starting a practice facilitation program aimed at improving primary care. The practice facilitation programs described in this guide are designed to work with primary care practices on quality improvement activities, with an emphasis on primary care redesign and transformation. The guide focuses on how to establish and run an effective practice facilitation program, and is intended for organizations or individuals who will develop, design, and administer such programs.

This guide was developed based on information and resources shared by more than 30 experts in the field of practice facilitation. AHRQ convened the expert working group through a series of webinars and conference calls over a nine month period in 2011. These experts provided practical knowledge and hard-won lessons from their experiences in practice facilitation, and shared resources that they developed or found useful.

Topics covered in the guide include:

  1. Background and existing evidence for practice facilitation
  2. Creating the administrative foundation for your practice facilitation program
  3. Funding your practice facilitation program
  4. Developing your practice facilitation approach
  5. Hiring your practice facilitators
  6. Training your practice facilitators
  7. Supervising and supporting your practice facilitators
  8. Evaluating the quality and outcomes of your practice facilitation program

In addition, the guide includes an extensive collection of tools and links to resources relevant to the development, operation and maintenance of your practice facilitation program.


Join a Practice Facilitation Learning Community

AHRQ’s Primary Care Practice Facilitation learning community provides opportunities for individuals who have an interest in primary care practice facilitation to learn from and interact with others.

Current learning opportunities include Practice Facilitation webinars and an eNewsletter. The webinars provide in-depth information on topics drawn from Developing and Running a Practice Facilitation Program for Primary Care Transformation: A How-To Guide. Upcoming webinars are listed on the PCPF Updates page; multimedia files (slides and audio) from past webinars are posted there also. The eNewsletters share perspectives on questions and answers submitted by learning community members, as well as resources, research articles, and events of interest. The eNewsletters are distributed to the Primary Care Practice Facilitation listserve. To subscribe to the listserve, please send an email to Past newsletters are archived on the PCPF Updates page.

We look forward to your participation!