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OHSU project seeks to put people at the center of health care

$1.5 million grant supports investigation into barriers of patient-centered care, solutions to overcome them
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Male doctor consults with older male patient
Oregon Health & Science University researchers were awarded a $1.5 million grant to investigate barriers that prevent person-centered care planning from being used in the U.S., and to brainstorm ways to overcome those barriers. (Getty Images)

A new, Oregon Health & Science University-led project seeks to better center patient goals, preferences and values when health care professionals and patients work together to manage multiple chronic health conditions.

close-in face shot of a smiling woman with curly hair
Deborah Cohen, Ph.D. (OHSU)

Supported by a $1.5-million award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the project aims to move the idea of person-centered care planning from theory and into practice. Research has shown this type of care planning can not only benefit both patients and providers, but that it can also be challenging to implement — which helps explain why it isn’t widely used in the United States yet.

“This study will help us understand the crucial role that primary care can play in improving person-centered care planning and coordination,” said the project’s principal investigator, Deborah Cohen, Ph.D., professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Close-in face shot of adult, ginger male in glasses smiling in front of a glass and brick building
David Dorr, M.D., M.S. (OHSU)

“About half of U.S. adults and more than 65% of Americans who are older than 65 have multiple chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure,” added David Dorr, M.D., M.S., professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Dorr is co-directing the project with Ana Quiñones, Ph.D., associate professor in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and the OHSU School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine. Quiñones studies chronic conditions among older adults. Chronic conditions are more common as people age, and are also more common in people of color and those of low economic means.

Long-haired woman in a blazer with foliage-covered brick in background
Ana Quinones, Ph.D. (OHSU)

“Coordinating care is particularly important for patients with multiple chronic conditions, as they typically have more than a dozen visits with providers of various specialties each year and take an average of more than eight long-term medications,” Quiñones said.

About 20 years ago, Dorr helped create Care Management Plus as one of the first programs to support person-centered care planning for primary care providers who treat patients with multiple chronic conditions. This new project helps advance that work.

The project team will meet with a variety of stakeholders — including health policy leaders, insurers, clinicians and health researchers — to discuss barriers that prevent person-centered care planning from being used in the U.S. and to brainstorm ways to overcome those barriers. The team will share their findings through webinars, presentations at professional meetings, peer-reviewed publications and more.

The OHSU Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology is leading this project in partnership with representatives of University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California, San Francisco, and University of Oklahoma.

This research is supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (contract # 75Q80120D00019/75Q80124F32002).

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