With the reorganization of the financing of health care and creation of systems of care, it is possible to design and implement organizational interventions to improve the care of older persons beyond the services that can be provided by an individual provider.
To review the effectiveness of organizational interventions for older persons, describe barriers to dissemination of success models into practice settings, and identify future directions for such interventions.
Selective review of organizational interventions that have been aimed primarily at the geriatric population and have been formally evaluated using conventional research designs, usually randomized clinical trials.
Organizational interventions can be classified into two groups: component models and systems changes. The former can be superimposed upon an intact system but do not fundamentally change the system of care whereas the latter modify the basic structure of primary care. A variety of organizational interventions have been implemented in diverse settings, but the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these interventions is inconsistent. Even when such interventions have been effective in research settings, these interventions rarely reduce health care costs. Moreover, there have been formidable barriers to implementation of successful interventions into practice.
Organizational interventions are potentially powerful methods to influence health care and maintain health status of older persons. Nevertheless, gaps between knowledge and practice and unanswered questions about the effectiveness of organizational interventions currently limit the potential value of this approach to improving health care of older persons.