History

Established in 1992, the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation (http://maccollcenter.org) is named for W.A. MacColl, MD, a founder of Group Health Cooperative, one of the nation’s largest consumer-governed cooperatives. As an integrated health system that combines care and coverage, Group Health has long been a test bed for innovative models of care.

Group Health launched its research arm—Group Health Research Institute, then called the Center for Health Studies (CHS)—in 1983, with Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, as director. Dr. Wagner founded the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation within CHS to develop, test, and disseminate tools and expertise for advancing health at a population level. The MacColl Institute became the MacColl Center in 2011.

Dr. Wagner served as the director of MacColl from its inception until 2012, when he became director emeritus.

Over its first two decades, MacColl earned a reputation as one of the nation’s premier institutions for innovation in chronic illness care, including the development of the Chronic Care Model. A widely endorsed and adopted approach to improving ambulatory (outpatient) care, this model is guiding clinical quality initiatives in the United States and abroad.

The MacColl Center served as the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Improving Chronic Illness Care (ICIC) initiative from 1998 until 2011. The Center continues to disseminate resource information about clinical improvement efforts through the ICIC website. The site hosts a trusted and continuously growing online library of learning guides and toolkits on topics such as care coordination, practice facilitation, the patient-centered medical home, and regional approaches to health care quality improvement.

In recent years, the MacColl Center has continued to develop its capabilities for promoting transformative changes in health care—most notably through its work supporting development of the patient-centered medical home model in the nation’s federally funded “safety net” health care system, serving low-income, vulnerable patients.

Michael L. Parchman, MD, MPH, was appointed director in 2012. Dr. Parchman’s research has focused largely on improving chronic illness care in primary care settings by approaching them as a complex adaptive system. The combination of his real-world primary care experience with his hypothesis-driven research strengthens the MacColl Center’s position for building on its strong track record of improving chronic illness care.