Katie Coleman, MSPH

“At KPWHRI and the MacColl Center, we're developing evidence-based tools to improve primary care. I'm working to bring these resources to health care systems across the country.”

Katie Coleman, MSPH

Director, Learning Health System Program, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Quality improvement is never easy. But Katie Coleman, MSPH, is finding strategies that make it easier to integrate what's known about how best to care for patients into daily practice. Her work aims to improve the quality, equity, and long-term viability of outpatient care in the United States.

At the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation, Ms. Coleman is interested in gathering knowledge about how best to deliver, organize, and finance health care—and translating it into practice. She focuses especially on improving the quality of primary care for patients and providers.

As part of her interest in exploring methods to help primary care practices improve care, Ms. Coleman, with collaborators at the Commonwealth Fund and Qualis Health, works with practice facilitators to help 65 safety-net practices across the country become patient-centered medical homes (PCMH). This effort strengthens the partnerships between patients and their primary care physicians.

Ms. Coleman also provides technical assistance to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality AF4Q initiative, which aims to improve the care of Americans in 17 regions that together cover 12.5 percent of the U.S. population.

Ms. Coleman has also published important findings that have clarified the limitations of pay-for-performance programs in improving outcomes for chronically ill patients. She has also contributed to early work evaluating the Kaiser Permanente Washington Patient Centered Medical Home demonstration and the VA's Patient Aligned Care Team initiative.

Research interests and experience

  • Health Services & Economics

    Health policy (access to care, health disparities, primary care safety net providers); practice variation; primary care organization and design; translation of preventive care research into clinical practice; health care financing (pay for performance, business case for quality); payment reform; performance measurement and incentives
  • Chronic Illness Management

    Collaborative approaches to transforming health care systems; design of health care systems and teams; evaluation of health care systems; measurement of change in health care systems

Recent publications

Hsu C, Hertel E, Johnson E, Cahill C, Lozano P, Ross TR, Ehrlich K, Coleman K, BlueSpruce J, Cheadle A, Matthys J, Chapdelaine M, Gray M, Tufte J, Robbins M. Evaluation of the Learning to Integrate Neighborhoods and Clinical Care project: findings from implementing a new lay role into primary care teams to address social determinants of health. Perm J. 2018; 22:18-101.Published online 2018 Oct 22.doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-101.

Blasi PR, Cromp D, McDonald S, Hsu C, Coleman K, Flinter M, Wagner EH. Approaches to behavioral health integration at high performing primary care practices. J Am Board Fam Med. 2018;31(5):691-701. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2018.05.170468. PubMed

Wagner EH, LeRoy L, Schaefer J, Bailit M, Coleman K, Zhan C, Meyers D. How do innovative primary care practices achieve the quadruple aim? J Ambul Care Manage. 2018 Jun 19. doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000249. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Hsu CW, Hertel E, BlueSpruce J, Ross TR, Cheadle A, Johnson E, Matthys J, Ehrlich K, Coleman K, Tufte J, Robbins M, Fishman P. Connecting primary care patients to community resources: lessons learned from the development of a new lay primary care team role. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2016;3:218.


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