Health IT key to HealthAmerica medical home pilot

Preferred Primary Care Physicians, a 32-doctor group in the Pittsburgh area, is piloting an advanced medical home model with assistance from HealthAmerica, a subsidiary of Coventry Health Care. Health IT will be a crucial component of the medical home project, in which personal physicians will coordinate patients' care across care settings.

"Our electronic health record and our robust data mining capabilities will be crucial in supporting optimal patient care, performance measurement, patient education, and communication," Gregory Erhard, executive director of Preferred Primary Care Physicians, said in a announcement.

EHRs have always been a key component of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. In the American College of Physicians' version of the PCMH, which the Pittsburgh group is "leveraging," according to the press release, health IT is central. "Evidence based medicine, health information technology, and clinical decision support tools guide decision making to support patient care, performance measurement, patient education, and enhanced communication," an ACP policy statement notes.

HealthAmerica will aid Preferred by providing data that support care management.

"HealthAmerica will play an important role because of the data we track on quality measures, which is critical for coordinating care and reporting on the results," Robert S. Mirsky, chief medical officer for HealthAmerica, said. "Our data are also key to promoting the practice of evidence-based medicine and using decision-support tools to guide clinical decision making."

While the announcement did not mention financial incentives for participating in the medical home pilot, it said, "Provider incentives for achieving quality goals help keep costs down and keep medical care focused on prevention strategies and managing patients with chronic diseases." 

To learn more:
- read the press release
- see the ACP policy statement (.pdf) 

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