Practice coaching programs are being developed across the country on state and regional levels. Although the PPACA created a nationwide Primary Care Extension Program—perhaps named after the agricultural extension concept that predates it—Congress did not appropriate funds for this program. It is estimated to cost $120 million annually.
The Commonwealth Fund study cites reports showing that the effectiveness of practice coaching can be related to care for patients and improvements in physician practices adhering to evidence-based guidelines.
TransforMED initiates mostly peer-to-peer coaching. "We go into a practice and let [physicians] tell their stories and create a peer support group," McGeeney says. "It really accelerates the transformation of a practice." The coaches come from a wide range of specialties, and include physicians, nurses, and other health professionals or counselors with advanced degrees.
Most physician groups and hospitals prefer to have coaches with real-world experience, McGeeney says. Each coach "has to be immediately credible when they walk into a busy primary care office practice, so everyone feels comfortable."