Background: Patient-engagement strategies are increasingly recognized for enriching traditional medical care and improving population health. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) may be well positioned to leverage multi-sector organizational partnerships to improve the reach of their patient-engagement strategies, particularly given incentives to meet cost, quality and population health goals. Little is currently known about the relation of multi-sector partnerships and patient engagement in ACOs.

Purpose: To examine the relation of patient-engagement strategies and breadth of multi-sectoral organizational partnerships in 71 primary care practices affiliated with one of two ACOs.

Methods: Clinical and administrative leaders from each practice were surveyed. Questions assessed practice use of 12 different partnership sectors and the adoption of 14 patient-engagement strategies. Bivariate tests examined associations between patient-engagement strategies and practice use of partnership sectors. Multivariate linear regression estimated the extent to which practices with a greater number of multi-sector organizational partnerships had greater adoption of patient-engagement strategies.

Results: Practices reported partnering with a mean of 3.2 (standard deviation, SD= 2.1) out of 12 sectors and implementing a mean of 7.1 (SD=3.4) out of 14 patient-engagement strategies. Each additional type of multi-sector partnership was associated with greater adoption of patient-engagement strategies (β = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.23–0.95, for all partnerships and β = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.42–1.43, when restricted to nonmedical partnerships)

Implications: Practices with a greater breadth of multi-sector partnerships, particularly nonmedical partnerships, use a wider range of strategies to engage patients in their own care.