The Patient-centered Medical Home (PCMH) uses team-based care to improve patient outcomes, including satisfaction. The quality of patients’ communication with their primary care providers (PCPs) is a key determinant of patient satisfaction. A shift to team-based care could disrupt the therapeutic relationship between patients and their PCPs and reduce patient satisfaction if communication and coordination among primary care team members is poor. Little is known about the relationship between intrateam communication within a PCMH and patient satisfaction with PCPs, and whether patient-provider communication might mediate this relationship.
To examine the relationship between intrateam communication in a PCMH and patients’ satisfaction with assigned PCPs, and whether patient-provider communication mediates this relationship.
Cross-sectional surveys of Veterans Health Administration PCPs (2011–2012, n=149) matched with their assigned patients’ surveys (n=3329). Mediation analyses using a nested data structure, controlling for patient and provider characteristics.
Patient satisfaction with PCPs, patient-reported patient-provider communication, and PCP-reported intrateam communication within the PCMH.
Intrateam communication and patient-provider communication were independently associated with patients’ satisfaction with their PCPs. Patient-provider communication mediated 56% of the association between intrateam communication and patient satisfaction. Better intrateam communication combined with better patient-provider communication predicted high satisfaction (81%), compared with poor intrateam communication and poor patient-provider communication (22%).
PCMH environments with better communication among team members are likely to experience better patient-provider communication and high patient satisfaction. PCMH practices with low ratings of patient satisfaction may need to look beyond individual PCPs to communication within and across teams.