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

Stefan G. Kertesz, David E. Pollio, Richard N. Jones, Jocelyn Steward, Erin J. Stringfellow, Adam J. Gordon, Nancy K. Johnson, Theresa A. Kim, Shanette G. Daigle, Erika L. Austin, Alexander S. Young, Joya G. Chrystal, Lori L. Davis, David L. Roth, Cheryl L. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)734-742
Number of pages9
JournalMedical care
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • homeless health care
  • homeless persons
  • item response theory
  • patient satisfaction
  • patient-centered outcomes research
  • patientcentered care
  • survey methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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