Empanelment & Team-Based Care: What They Really Mean

January 27, 2015   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: Empanelment , Team Based Care , Learning Session , OHA Transformation Center , Population Health , CareOregon
Marcelle Thurston, MS, RD, CDE, CareOregon

Empanelment, or the act of assigning patients to care teams, was the topic of a recent Institute Learning Collaborative session. But what exactly did participants learn?

For starters, they learned about creating and maintaining panels, the importance of developing panel management policies and procedures, how empanelment drives dashboard reporting, and how it ultimately allows clinical staff to provide information to providers about the population of patients they manage. As a key aspect of population health management, empanelment is critical to ongoing success of the primary care home model.

Attendees also identified how empanelment supports the formation of teams. Facilitators led groups in a Share the Care activity, a tool to help care teams adopt a paradigm shift from an 'I' to 'We' approach to patient care. Clinic teams assessed the skills and interests of their members and thought about how responsibilities could be reallocated so that all members share responsibility for, and contribute meaningfully to, the health of their patients. 

I loved the 'share the care' session. It would be amazing to be able to lessen the burden on Primary Care Physicians. - learning session participant

Dr. Ron Stock of the OHA Transformation Center also spoke to attendees of the learning session on team cohesion, and how team-based care is vital to primary care transformation and achieving the Triple Aim. Watch two previously recorded Institute webinars delivered by Dr. Stock on developing team-based care and addressing common team challenges.

The message of team cohesion was the most important take-away for me from the session, and my desire to form a better team within my practice. - learning session participant

You can also access empanelment resources, including a recording of an Institute webinar on Empanelment, on our website.


More than 40 staff from six primary care practices across Oregon came together on Friday, January 9th to further their efforts to improve access to their patients through adoption of the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program. The practices are six of twenty-four participating in one of the four Learning Collaboratives offered by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Institute from June 2014 – May 2015.

This was the second of three in-person learning sessions that practices will participate in during the course of the year-long Learning Collaborative. The Improving Access through PCPCH Collaborative is led by CareOregon, and is tailored to support the practices’ access needs around absorbing new patients, creating more same day capacity, reducing backlog, and utilizing all team members in non-face-to-face visits. Read about the first in-person learning session for the Improving Access through PCPCH Learning Collaborative.



Marcelle Thurston, MS, RD, CDE is a Primary Care Innovation Specialist at CareOregon. Through her role she serves as the practice coach for the six clinics (with eight sites) participating in the Improving Access through PCPCH Collaborative.