A simple framework for weighting panels across primary care disciplines

It is difficult for primary care physicians to identify patients on their panel, and workloads can differ based on patient variation. To alleviate these issues, the UW PATH collaborative developed and applied a utilization-based weighting system to determine physicians’ panels in a way that accounts for patient complexity using sociodemographic factors. They measured empanelment before and after the implementation of the weighting system in 27 primary care clinics by comparing weighted and unweighted panel size and the number of physicians accepting patients. After the weighting system was implemented, the percentage of physicians in family medicine and pediatrics with open panels decreased, but the percentage of open panels increased in general internal medicine and the number of active patients increased by 2%. In addition, patients’ perceived access to care improved significantly in family and general internal medicine clinics.

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