Implementation of health insurance support tools in community health centers

Nathalie Huguet, Brigit Hatch, Aleksandra Sumic, Carrie Tillotson, Elizabeth Hicks, Joan Nelson, Jennifer E. DeVoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Health information technology (HIT) provides new opportunities for primary care clinics to support patients with health insurance enrollment and maintenance. We present strategies, early findings, and clinic reflections on the development and implementation of HIT tools designed to streamline and improve health insurance tracking at community health centers. Methods: We are conducting a hybrid implementation-effectiveness trial to assess novel health insurance enrollment and support tools in primary care clinics. Twenty-three clinics in 7 health centers from the OCHIN practice-based research network are participating in the implementation component of the trial. Participating health centers were randomized to 1 of 2 levels of implementation support, including arm 1 (n 4 health centers, 11 clinic sites) that received HIT tools and educational materials and arm 2 (n 3 health centers, 12 clinic sites) that received HIT tools, educational materials, and individualized implementation support with a practice coach. We used mixed-methods (qualitative and quantitative) to assess tool use rates and facilitators and barriers to implementation in the first 6 months. Results: Clinics reported favorable attitudes toward the HIT tools, which replace less efficient and more cumbersome processes, and reflect on the importance of clinic engagement in tool development and refinement. Five of 7 health centers are now regularly using the tools and are actively working to increase tool use. Six months after formal implementation, arm 2 clinics demonstrated higher rates of tool use, compared with arm 1. Discussion: These results highlight the value of early clinic input in tool development, the potential benefit of practice coaching during HIT tool development and implementation, and a novel method for coupling a hybrid implementation-effectiveness design with principles of improvement science in primary care research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-416
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Community Health Centers
  • Health Insurance
  • Implementation Science
  • Medical Informatics
  • Mentoring
  • Primary Health Care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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