Can Patient-Centered Medical Homes Transform Health Care Delivery? The answer is clearly yes, and that is a point I have tried to emphasize, but I often get asked by those less familiar with the subject, how does this really make a difference?
The basic idea in a nutshell is that in order to be effective and add value, health reform must deliver a new delivery system built on a solid foundation of primary care. There are two barriers to this happening:
- We are losing primary care providers, and very few new doctors are in the pipeline to replace them
- The way primary care doctors are paid is inadequate and dysfunctional, so that they are not paid for the work that patients truly need and want them to do.
In 2007, four primary care specialty societies, representing more than 300,000 primary care specialists, issued a joint description of the Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home:
- A personal physician;
- A whole-person orientation;
- Safe and high-quality care (e.g., evidence-based medicine, appropriate use of health information technology);
- Enhanced access to care; (e.g., phone visits, secure web visits, group visits with appropriate use of health information technology);
- payment that recognizes the added value provided to patients and insurers who have a patient-centered medical home.