Incorporating Theory into Practice: Reconceptualizing Exemplary Care Coordination Initiatives from the US Veterans Health Delivery System

Incorporating Theory into Practice: Reconceptualizing Exemplary Care Coordination Initiatives from the US Veterans Health Delivery System

By
Kathryn McDonald, Sara Singer, Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin, David Haggstrom, Denise Hynes, Martin Charns, Elizabeth Yano, Michelle Lucatorto, Donna Zulman, Michael Ong, R. Neal Axon, Donna Vogel, Mark Upton
Journal of General Internal Medicine. May
2019, Vol. 34, Issue 1, Pages 24-29

This perspective paper seeks to lay out an efficient approach for health care providers, researchers, and other stakeholders involved in interventions aimed at improving care coordination to partner in locating and using applicable care coordination theory. The objective is to learn from relevant theory-based literature about fit between intervention options and coordination needs, thereby bringing insights from theory to enhance intervention design, implementation, and troubleshooting. To take this idea from an abstract notion to tangible application, our workgroup on models and measures from the Veterans Health Administration (VA) State of the Art (SOTA) conference on care coordination first summarizes our distillation of care coordination theoretical frameworks (models) into three common conceptual domains—context of an intervention, locus in which an intervention is applied, and specific design features of the intervention. Then we apply these three conceptual domains to four cases of care coordination interventions (“use cases”) chosen to represent various scopes and stages of interventions to improve care coordination for veterans. Taken together, these examples make theory more accessible and practical by demonstrating how it can be applied to specific cases. Drawing from theory offers one method to anticipate which intervention options match a particular coordination situation.