November 3, 2012 by astancilwomack
I wrote about Accountable Care Organizations the other day. I explained that they are encouraged by the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act of 2009. There is also something called Medical Homes that are being encouraged as well, so I wanted to provide insight into what a medical home does and what the goal is.
The idea of a medical home is to provide excellent patient centered primary care (by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant) to patients by facilitating, coordinating, and maintaining care with specialists when necessary.Medical homes are designed to give the patient treatment options and/or plan of care and allowing the patient to be involved in the decision-making process.
Does this sound like a new concept? It didn’t to me either. When I first heard the buzz around these medical homes (after the act was passed), I was surprised to realize what common sense it seemed like. Maybe I’ve just been lucky enough to have my primary care providers practice like this, but this shouldn’t be a recommendation in my opinion it should be the standard of care.
Anyway, I was recently happy to learn that this is far from a new concept. The term was actually coined in 1967. It is making a buzz again because of the technological advances. It is now easier to provide patients with primary care centered on them. In order to be a successful medical home the primary care provider will need to utilize electronic medical record systems. Another newer concept is a focus on prevention, informing patients and allowing them to make informed decisions on prevention is now integrated in successful medical homes. One of the more important additions include better access to primary care providers, whether it be through secure e-mail, after hours clinic, after hours emergency lines, etc.
There are financial perks for the providers for implementing a medical home, but the primary benefits are to the patients. Were any of you surprised that this idea actually needs to be encouraged? Or were you more like me and have been lucky enough to have already been receiving this standard of care?