Development of the primary care quality-homeless (PCQ-H) instrument: A practical survey of homeless patients' experiences in primary care

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND:: Homeless patients face unique challenges in obtaining primary care responsive to their needs and context. Patient experience questionnaires could permit assessment of patient-centered medical homes for this population, but standard instruments may not reflect homeless patients' priorities and concerns. OBJECTIVES:: This report describes (a) the content and psychometric properties of a new primary care questionnaire for homeless patients; and (b) the methods utilized in its development. METHODS:: Starting with quality-related constructs from the Institute of Medicine, we identified relevant themes by interviewing homeless patients and experts in their care. A multidisciplinary team drafted a preliminary set of 78 items. This was administered to homeless-experienced clients (n=563) across 3 VA facilities and 1 non-VA Health Care for the Homeless Program. Using Item Response Theory, we examined Test Information Function (TIF) curves to eliminate less informative items and devise plausibly distinct subscales. RESULTS:: The resulting 33-item instrument (Primary Care Quality-Homeless) has 4 subscales: Patient-Clinician Relationship (15 items), Cooperation among Clinicians (3 items), Access/Coordination (11 items), and Homeless-specific Needs (4 items). Evidence for divergent and convergent validity is provided. TIF graphs showed adequate informational value to permit inferences about groups for 3 subscales (Relationship, Cooperation, and Access/Coordination). The 3-item Cooperation subscale had lower informational value (TIF<5) but had good internal consistency (α=0.75) and patients frequently reported problems in this aspect of care. CONCLUSIONS:: Systematic application of qualitative and quantitative methods supported the development of a brief patient-reported questionnaire focused on the primary care of homeless patients and offers guidance for future population-specific instrument development. Copyright © 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Published In

  • Medical Care  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kertesz SG; Pollio DE; Jones RN; Steward J; Stringfellow EJ; Gordon AJ; Johnson NK; Kim TA; Daigle SG; Austin EL
  • Start Page

  • 734
  • End Page

  • 742
  • Volume

  • 52
  • Issue

  • 8