Team-based primary care improved health behaviors among patients with multimorbidity

April 13, 2021

Scaling Up Patient-Centered Interdisciplinary Care for Multimorbidity: A Pragmatic Mixed-Methods Randomized Controlled Trial, The Annals of Family Medicine March 2021, 19 (2) 126-134



To measure the effectiveness of a 4-month interdisciplinary multifaceted intervention based on a change in care delivery for patients with multimorbidity in primary care practices.


A pragmatic randomized controlled trial with a mixed-methods design in patients aged 18 to 80 years with 3 or more chronic conditions from 7 family medicine groups (FMGs) in Quebec, Canada. Health care professionals (nurses, nutritionists, kinesiologists) from the FMGs were trained to deliver the patient-centered intervention based on a motivational approach and self-management support. Primary outcomes: self-management (Health Education Impact Questionnaire); and self-efficacy. Secondary outcomes: health status, quality of life, and health behaviors. Quantitative analyses used multi-level mixed effects and generalized linear mixed models controlling for clustering within FMGs. We also conducted in-depth interviews with patients, family members, and health care professionals.


The trial randomized 284 patients (144 in intervention group, 140 in control group). The groups were comparable. After 4 months, the intervention showed a neutral effect for the primary outcomes. There was significant improvement in 2 health behaviors (healthy eating with odds ratios [OR] 4.36; P = .006, and physical activity with OR 3.43; P = .023). The descriptive qualitative evaluation revealed that the patients reinforced their self-efficacy and improved their self-management which was divergent from the quantitative results.


Quantitatively, this intervention showed a neutral effect on the primary outcomes and substantial improvement in 2 health behaviors as secondary outcomes. Qualitatively, the intervention was evaluated as positive. The combination of qualitative and quantitative designs proved to be a good design for evaluating this complex intervention.

Authors- Martin Fortin, Moira Stewart, Patrice Ngangue, José Almirall, Mathieu Bélanger, Judith Belle Brown, Martine Couture, Frances Gallagher, Alan Katz, Christine Loignon, Bridget L. Ryan, Tara Sampalli, Sabrina T. Wong, Merrick Zwarenstei

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