Patient Centered Medical Homes – Changing the industry

Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) provide mechanisms for organizing primary care to provide a full range of high quality health services to the individual’s healthcare needs.

Evidence according to a recent report suggests that medical homes have a positive effect on patient experiences and preventive care services. Indeed, the principles of a PCMH revolve around a wide ranged, team-based care system which is purposefully catered towards the treatment of a patient while being coordinated across all elements in the healthcare system.

With a patient centered orientation towards the individual, the PCMH provides greater access to care which uses alternative methods of communication involving a sustained partnership and personal relationship with the patient over time. Patient Centered Medical Homes comprise of Primary Care Physicians, a committee, a case worker for every patient and care coordinators. The committee measures the quality of care, the care coordinator oversees patients who do not have very serious problems and the case worker becomes the focal point of the medical home and constantly interacts with patients who have serious problems, assisting them in every possible way.

The PCMH model uses a systems-based approach to quality and safety, focusing on care which is accountable for addressing a majority of personal health needs. PCMH is aligned with the Meaningful Use program which allows the medical home to operate in a more efficient and effective manner. Through the use of Electronic Medical Records, patients now have an electronically documented medical history which reduces the time-taken to treat patients and decrease operating costs for the practice. Services such as the Patient Portal allow for easy communication between the patients and the medical practitioners who treat their condition without the need to visit the practitioner’s office.

Through another report, it is statistically evident that costs are cut down through the implementation of Patient Centered Medical Homes as there were 70% reported reductions in emergency room visits and 40% reduced hospital readmissions.

Dr. Jason Hand who is a member of a Patient Centered Medical Home in St. Louis says “We have to find a way to control cost without lowering quality,”

“I saw a lady the other day (who) had seven different doctors she was going to that were not her primary care physicians. She was so overwhelmed with those appointments that she could barely think straight.”

“If I send you to a cardiologist four times a year, you’re going to get four EKGs and a stress test every year. That alone will cost $5,000, $6,000 or $7,000. It’s not necessary to see a cardiologist that often if you don’t have a major heart problem. We want patients to feel like they can go to their regular doctor and ask questions and get answers, and they don’t necessarily have to go to a specialist.”

With the surge in medical protocol standardization such as the EMRs and the efforts to enforce these standards by the government and medical institutes in the country, things are finally changing.

Patient Centered Medical Homes have changed the industry by empowering patients. The patients have mobile access to their medical history and better access to their doctors. The costs of healthcare are also reduced with one team treating the patients instead of various physicians and specialists.

 

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