Four practice characteristics facilitate the integration of community health workers into medical home care teams: leaders who champion community health workers, a culture of innovation, recognition of patients' non-medical needs, and a positive perception of the financial sustainability of community health workers. Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted 51 semi-structured, key informant interviews of personnel at nine Minnesota practices certified as medical homes. They found that in practices without community health workers, leaders lacked awareness of the value of community health workers' wide-ranging roles including outreach, health education and coaching, community resource linkage, system navigation, and facilitating communication between clinicians and patients. The authors contend that work remains to raise awareness of community health workers, in spite of growing evidence of their effectiveness.
Integrating Community Health Workers Into Medical Homes
Elizabeth A. Rogers, MD, MAS, et al
University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota