Michael Parchman, MD, MPH

“My goal as a KPWHRI investigator and MacColl Center director is to help small practices and safety net clinics use the Chronic Care Model to meet community health needs.”

Michael L. Parchman, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Director, MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation


Senior Investigator Michael Parchman, MD, MPH, is a nationally recognized scholar in chronic illness care research who has been the director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute’s MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation since 2010. A family practitioner and health services researcher, Dr. Parchman previously served as the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Practice-Based Research Network Initiative and senior advisor for primary care.

Dr. Parchman’s research focuses on using complexity science to explore how diverse health care teams can work together to achieve high-quality care. He leads Healthy Hearts Northwest, a three-year project for primary care practices in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho that is funded as part of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)’s EvidenceNOW initiative. The project aims to help practices improve their patients’ cardiovascular health by expanding their existing quality improvement capacity.

Other projects Dr. Parchman is working on include:

  • Taking Action on Overuse, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded project that is engaging primary care teams to ‘de-implement’ needless tests and treatments—doing less overused low-value care that might harm patients.
  • Team-Based Opioid Management, which aims to improve safe prescribing of chronic opioid medication for patients with non-cancer pain in rural primary care clinics across Washington and Idaho. Funding comes from AHRQ.
  • The University of Washington Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS), which focuses on producing innovative and practical tools and methods that will enable scientists around the region to more effectively translate research discoveries into practice.
  • Implementing Innovations into Practice, a collaboration platform that provides success stories and other practical tips to help primary care practices improve care and patient health. Originally funded by ITHS, the project is now part of Healthy Hearts Northwest.

Research interests and experience

  • Health Services & Economics

    Primary care organization and design; quality of  primary care; implementation science

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Diabetes care; Chronic Care Model implementation

  • Cardiovascular Health

    Cardiovascular risk factors and organization of primary care delivery

  • Complexity Science

    Using a complex adaptive systems approach to improve outcomes and quality in primary care


Recent publications

Mafi JN, Parchman M. Low-value care: an intractable global problem with no quick fix. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018 Jan 13. pii: bmjqs-2017-007477. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2017-007477. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Parchman M, Hsu C, Fagnan L, van Borkulo N, Tuzzio L. Building a learning health care organization: external facilitation tailors support to the learning capacity of primary care settings. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2017;4:187.

Thakral M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Dublin S, Von Korff M. Comparing pain and depressive symptoms of chronic opioid therapy patients receiving dose reduction and risk mitigation initiatives to usual care. J Pain. 2017 Oct 13. pii: S1526-5900(17)30733-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.09.006. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Von Korff M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Thakral M, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Dublin S. Prevalence of prescription opioid use disorder among chronic opioid therapy patients after health plan opioid dose and risk reduction initiatives. Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Jun 27;46:90-98. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.053. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


Medical Overuse

In health care, more isn’t always better. We know what to do less of, but how?

Our ‘Taking Action on Overuse’ framework helps organizations build a culture where care teams take ownership for reducing low value care. But what does that look like?

Read it in Healthy Findings

Primary Care

Primary care transformation: Winding Waters' remarkable journey

Winding Waters Clinic operations officer Keli Christman discusses the ways her 45-year-old organization in rural eastern Oregon coaching strategies to meet the demands of today’s primary care environment.

Read about it in Implementing Innovations into Practice.

Latest News

Start making sense: Taking Action on Overuse

MacColl and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation help providers and patients hold hard conversations to curb habits of too much testing and treatment. 

Read about it in News and Events.

KPWHRI In the Media

Chronic illness management

Study aims to reduce painkiller abuse via primary care

Yakima Herald, March 9, 2017