Shadow Coaching Improves Patient Experience for English-Preferring Patients but Not for Spanish-Preferring Patients

Background

Shadow coaching, a type of one-on-one provider counseling by trained peers, is an effective strategy for improving provider behaviors and patient interactions, but its effects on improving patient experience for English- and Spanish-preferring patients is unknown.

Objective

Assess effects of shadow coaching on patient experience for English- and for Spanish-preferring patients.

Design

We analyzed 2012–2019 Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) data (n=46,089) from an urban Federally Qualified Health Center with 44 primary care practices and 320 providers. One-third (n=14,631) were Spanish-preferring patients. We fit mixed-effects regression models with random effects for provider (the level of treatment assignment) and fixed effects for time (a linear spline for time with a knot and “jump” at coaching date), patient characteristics, and site indicators, stratified by preferred language.

Participants

The 74 providers who had a 6-month average top-box score on the CAHPS overall provider rating below 90 (on a 100-point scale) were shadow coached. Similar percentages of English-preferring (45%) and Spanish-preferring patients (43%) were seen by coached providers.

Intervention

Trained providers observed patient care by colleagues and provided suggestions for improvement. Verbal feedback was provided immediately after the observation and the participant received a written report summarizing the comments and recommendations from the coaching session.

Main Measures

CG-CAHPS Visit Survey 2.0 provider communication composite and overall provider rating (0–100 scoring).

Key Results

We found a statistically significant 2-point (small) jump in CAHPS provider communication and overall provider rating among English-preferring patients of coached providers. There was no evidence of a coaching effect on patient experience for Spanish-preferring patients.

Conclusions

Coaching improved care experiences for English-preferring patients but may not have improved patient experience for Spanish-preferring patients. Selection and training of providers to communicate effectively with Spanish-preferring patients is needed to extend the benefits of shadow coaching to Spanish-preferring patients.

Research conducted by

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