What Is a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH)?
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) reorganizes how primary care is structured and delivered. From simple problems to multiple chronic conditions, the philosophy is to meet patients where they are. It encourages partnerships between patients, healthcare providers, and the patient's family.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the patient-centered medical home has five roles and characteristics:
- Comprehensive Care
- A patient-centered medical home meets a patient's needs along the entire healthcare spectrum, from wellness services to acute and chronic care. Patients are treated holistically rather than one condition at a time
- Patient-Centered Care
- At the heart of a PCMH is a strong relationship between the healthcare provider, the patient, and the patient's family. This provides a better understanding of the patient's health, as well as his or her unique needs and preferences
- Coordinated Care
- As patients move through various stages of care—for example, from hospital to home—their needs are met through coordination of family members and multiple healthcare providers. In order to achieve this level of coordination, a patient-centered medical home supports clear and open communication between each involved party
- Accessible Services
- Patients have needs outside of the standard 9–5 workday. In order to provide around-the-clock care, the patient-centered medical home relies on electronic or telephone access to members of the care team at any time of the day. Patients can choose the communication style that best fits their needs and preferences
- Quality and Safety
- By making data-driven decisions about care, a PCMH can make a commitment to quality care that improves over time. Taking into account patient and family experiences and satisfaction increases the quality and safety of care
A successful model requires the primary care physician to:
Next: What is a Clinically Integrated Network?