February 1, 2010
J. H. Wasson and S. Bartels, “CARE Vital Signs Supports Patient-Centered, Collaborative Care,” Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, Jan.–Mar. 2009 32(1):56–71.
In this Commonwealth Fund–supported study, John Wasson, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School, promotes the adoption of the CARE Vital Signs tool to improve patient care while streamlining office processes and staff deployment. CARE Vital Signs is a standard form used by physician practices to: Check what matters to patients, Act on that assessment, Reinforce the actions, and systematically Engineer or incorporate actions into staff roles and clinical processes. This study, published in the Journal of Ambulatory Care,
shows that the CARE Vital Signs tool is useful for both patients and practices. Because the approach supports patient-centered, coordinated care, patients can expect action on “what matters” to them. Clinicians, meanwhile, find that knowing what matters to patients improves the practice’s efficiency and the effectiveness of the care delivered. As the tool is more deeply incorporated into practices, staff often discover inefficient, unsophisticated processes and develop better ones. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement encourages the use of CARE Vital Signs in its office practice redesign efforts.