Effects of Practice Turnover on Primary Care Quality Improvement Implementation

Andrea N. Baron, Jennifer R. Hemler, Shannon M. Sweeney, Tanisha Tate Woodson, Allison Cuthel, Benjamin F. Crabtree, Deborah J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Primary care practices often engage in quality improvement (QI) in order to stay current and meet quality benchmarks, but the extent to which turnover affects practices’ QI ability is not well described. The authors examined qualitative data from practice staff and external facilitators participating in a large-scale QI initiative to understand the relationship between turnover and QI efforts. The examination found turnover can limit practices’ ability to engage in QI activities in various ways. When a staff member leaves, remaining staff often absorb additional responsibilities, and QI momentum slows as new staff are trained or existing staff are reengaged. Turnover alters staff dynamics and can create barriers to constructive working relationships and team building. When key practice members leave, they can take with them institutional memory about QI purpose, processes, and long-term vision. Understanding how turnover affects QI may help practices, and those helping them with QI, manage the disruptive effects of turnover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • disruption
  • primary care
  • quality improvement
  • turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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