The Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) Model Gains Popularity
The Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) model continues to gain popularity with providers, patients, and health plans. Meanwhile, mounting evidence indicates that the PCMH is improving health outcomes and reducing costs.
A recent report by the Patient-Center Primary Care Collaborative cites numerous examples of PCMH initiatives which have resulted in shorter hospital stays, reduced emergency department utilization, fewer specialist visits, and lower costs. For example, the state of Colorado says its Medicaid medical home initiative has resulted in a 14 percent drop in hospital stays among children and a five percent decline in adult ER visits. And, the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania reports its PCMH program has reduced hospital admissions by 25 percent, readmissions by 50 percent, and cumulative total spending by seven percent.
Both the private and public sector are taking notice and developing health plans that support the PCMH model. Wellpoint, Aetna, and United Healthcare are just a few of the major insurance carriers embracing the PCMH model and developing insurance plans based on the medical home model. The VA and Department of Defense also support PCMH programs and most states have enacted PCMH options for their Medicaid programs. Meanwhile, the number of medical home providers has grown to the tens of thousands.
The PCMH model requires care coordination and information exchange between providers, strong provider-patient communication, and analysis and reporting of patient and population outcomes. A solid HIT infrastructure is thus essential to PCMH success. If your practice is considering the PCMH model, keep in mind a few of these key HIT requirements:
- Technology to collect, manage, and exchange health information, both internally and from other providers, including labs, hospitals, and specialists.
- Automated tools to improve communication and facilitate care coordination, including support for medication reconciliation; the updating of problem lists, histories, and care plans; and test ordering and results reporting.
- The ability to collect and report on outcomes for individual patients and a population, including the identification of disease conditions and the tracking of outcomes by patient, provider, and practice.
- Decision support tools available at the point of care to prompt providers of evidence-based treatments and offer guidance on appropriate clinical protocols.
- Communication tools for patient to keep them informed of their medical conditions including access to personal health records and educational resources, and in support of medication and appointment requests and secure messaging with providers.
Contact a MED3OOO representative if you’d like to learn more about the variety of services and products we offer in support PCMH practices.