Patient-centered medical home model not one-size-fits-all

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is touted as a way to revitalize primary care in a post–Affordable Care Act world, but there isn't necessarily one best method for practices to adopt the model, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

"There is broad recognition of the importance of primary care transformation and many efforts [are underway] to facilitate it, but [there is] little specific information about the kinds of changes that matter the most," Leif Solberg, M.D., director for care improvement research at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Bloomington, Minnesota, and the corresponding author for the study, told AAFP News Now. "Since most primary care practices have limited time and resources, they need to focus on the most important changes."

For small practices especially, "you can't do it all at once," Susan Andrews, M.D., of Family Practice Partners in Tennessee, which began its transformation to a PCMH 11 years ago, told AAFP News Now. Before implementing any new idea, such as launching a patient portal, her team begins with the following questions:

  • How will we set it up?

  • How can we fit it into our workflow?

  • How much will it cost?

  • How do we get our patients and staff excited and involved?

Along with specific changes practices may implement comes the decision of what accrediting body to work with to achieve certified PCMH status, noted a post from the MGMA In Practice blog. To help practices choose the right accreditor for them, David N. Gans, MGMA senior fellow, industry affairs, developed a free guide that compares the guidelines and standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare, the Joint Commission, the National Committee for Quality Assurance and URAC (formerly the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission).

"Look at each of the programs and identify which one's going to best meet your needs," Gans suggested.

To learn more:
- here's the study
- read the article
- check out the post
- access the guide