Photo of Deborah J. Cohen, Ph.D.

Deborah J. Cohen Ph.D.

    • Professor of Family Medicine School of Medicine
    • Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program School of Medicine

Deborah Cohen, Ph.D., has been developing her skills in qualitative methods for more than 20 years, and has spent more than a decade studying primary care practices, with a focus on clinician-patient communication, practice change and improvement and health information technology use.

Dr. Cohen has expertise in a range of qualitative methods and approaches, including interviewing, observation, and conversation analysis. Dr. Cohen is a highly skilled analyst, and she has experience supervising qualitative teams in data collection, management and analysis of qualitative and mixed methods data.

Dr. Cohen uses her qualitative expertise on mixed methods teams to look at how improvements are implemented in primary care practices, to identify what changes are made, and to compare the effectiveness of observed practice change on process and outcomes measures. She has been a Principal Investigator on several federal and foundation funded grants, leading mixed methods teams to understand and tackle the complicated problems related to implementing and disseminating new innovations and important quality improvements in primary care practice. Her work has focused on comparing the effectiveness of approaches for improving preventive services, health behavior and behavioral and mental health care in the primary care setting.

In addition to her research, Dr. Cohen mentors and teaches on the topics of qualitative methods and practice change and improvement. She is an Associate Editor for the Annals of Family Medicine, and she created a web-based resource for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is designed for people with an interest in qualitative research (

Areas of Research Keywords

Qualitative and Mixed-methods Research, Practice-based Research, Primary Care Practice Change and Improvement, Dissemination and Implementation Research, EHR Use, Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care, Preventive Service Delivery.

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  • "Care coordination for complex cancer survivors in an integrated safety-net system : A study protocol 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1117 Public Health and Health Services 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1110 Nursing." BMC cancer  In: , Vol. 18, No. 1, 1204, 04.12.2018.
  • "Building Meaningful Patient Engagement in Research." Medical care  In: , Vol. 56, 01.10.2018, p. S58-S63.
  • "A qualitative study of patient experiences of care in integrated behavioral health and primary care settings : More similar than different." Translational Behavioral Medicine  In: , Vol. 8, No. 5, 08.09.2018, p. 649-659.
  • "Evaluation of an electronic Health record (EHR) tool for integrated behavioral health in primary care." Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine  In: , Vol. 31, No. 5, 01.09.2018, p. 712-723.
  • "Using health information technology to bring social determinants of health into primary care : A conceptual framework to guide research." Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved  In: , Vol. 29, No. 3, 01.08.2018, p. 949-963.
  • "Meaningful use's benefits and burdens for US family physicians." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association  In: , Vol. 25, No. 6, 01.06.2018, p. 694-701.
  • "Electronic health record tools to assist with children's insurance coverage : A mixed methods study." BMC Health Services Research  In: , Vol. 18, No. 1, 354, 10.05.2018.
  • "Recruiting Practices for Change Initiatives Is Hard : Findings From EvidenceNOW." American Journal of Medical Quality  In: , Vol. 33, No. 3, 01.05.2018, p. 246-252.
  • "Practice facilitator strategies for addressing electronic health record data challenges for quality improvement : EvidenceNOW." Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine  In: , Vol. 31, No. 3, 01.05.2018, p. 398-409.
  • "Primary care practices' abilities and challenges in using electronic health record data for quality improvement." Health Affairs  In: , Vol. 37, No. 4, 01.04.2018, p. 635-643.
  • "Use of quality improvement strategies among small to medium-size us primary care practices." Annals of Family Medicine  In: , Vol. 16, 01.04.2018, p. S35-S43.
  • "Taking innovation to scale in primary care practices : The functions of health care extension." Health Affairs  In: , Vol. 37, No. 2, 01.02.2018, p. 222-230.
  • "Data-driven diffusion of innovations : Successes and challenges in 3 large-scale innovative delivery models." Health Affairs  In: , Vol. 37, No. 2, 01.02.2018, p. 257-265.
  • "How 6 Organizations Developed Tools and Processes for Social Determinants of Health Screening in Primary Care : An Overview." Journal of Ambulatory Care Management  In: , Vol. 41, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 2-14.
  • "Burnout Among Physicians, Advanced Practice Clinicians and Staff in Smaller Primary Care Practices." Journal of general internal medicine  In: , 01.01.2018.
  • "Designing health information technology tools for behavioural health clinicians integrated within US-based primary care teams." Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics  In: , Vol. 25, No. 3, 01.01.2018, p. 158-168.
  • "Integrating behavioral health under an ACO global budget : barriers and progress in Oregon." The American journal of managed care  In: , Vol. 23, No. 9, 01.09.2017, p. e303-e309.
  • "The Path to Integrating Medical, Behavioral, and Oral Health Care : Oregon's Experience With Change."   Health Reform Policy to Practice: Oregon's Path to a Sustainable Health System: A Study in Innovation. Elsevier Inc., 2017. p. 101-119.
  • "A qualitative study of clinic and community member perspectives on intervention toolkits : "unless the toolkit is used it won't help solve the problem"." BMC Health Services Research  In: , Vol. 17, No. 1, 497, 18.07.2017.
  • "Clinicians' Use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in Clinical Practice and Decision-Making." Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)  In: , Vol. 18, No. 6, 01.06.2017, p. 1063-1069.
  • "Vision for a principled redesign of health information technology." Annals of Family Medicine  In: , Vol. 15, No. 3, 01.05.2017, p. 285-286.
  • "Early performance in medicaid accountable care organizations a comparison of Oregon and Colorado." JAMA Internal Medicine  In: , Vol. 177, No. 4, 01.04.2017, p. 538-545.
  • "Outcomes of integrated behavioral health with primary care." Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine  In: , Vol. 30, No. 2, 01.03.2017, p. 130-139.
  • "Collaborators and communication channels in eight patient-centered medical homes."   Building Capacity for Health Informatics in the Future. Vol. 234 IOS Press, 2017. p. 59-64 (Studies in Health Technology and Informatics; Vol. 234).
  • "Smoking-Cessation Assistance : Before and After Stage 1 Meaningful Use Implementation." American Journal of Preventive Medicine  In: , 2017.
  • "Oregon's medicaid reform and transition to global budgets were associated with reductions in expenditures." Health Affairs  In: , Vol. 36, No. 3, 2017, p. 451-459.
  • "Designing health information technology tools to prevent gaps in public health insurance." Journal of innovation in health informatics  In: , Vol. 24, No. 2, 2017, p. 196-203.
  • "Hospital Strategies for Reducing Emergency Department Crowding : A Mixed-Methods Study." Annals of Emergency Medicine  In: , 2017.
  • "Reporting from the Front Lines : Implementing Oregon's Alternative Payment Methodology in Federally Qualified Health Centers." Journal of Ambulatory Care Management  In: , Vol. 40, No. 4, 2017, p. 339-346.
  • "Implementation of Behavioral Health Interventions in Real World Scenarios : Managing Complex Change." Families, Systems and Health  In: , 28.11.2016.

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