PCMH model fosters better medication adherence

Medication adherence tool

Patients who receive care from a patient-centered medical home are more likely to take their medications, according to new research. 

The study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests the PCMH model boosts the odds that patients with chronic conditions will adhere to their medication plans.

Data from more than 310,000 patients who started treatment for diabetes, hypertension or hyperlipidemia between 2011 and 2013 showed significantly better medication adherence among those treated at a PCMH, compared to those who did not. The study notes that these results held across all three disease states.

The study’s senior author, Niteesh K. Choudhry, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, told Reuters Health the results would likely transfer to similar long-term disease states, but cautioned that the improvements noted, though significant, were still moderate.

“I don’t think we should overestimate the ability of PCMH type environments to miraculously fix nonadherence, but clearly some of what they are doing is making a positive contribution,” he told the publication.

The PCMH model, which relies upon an integrated team of practitioners led by a primary care physician, has attracted attention as the industry moves away from paying for volume to paying for quality of care.

Michele Heisler, M.D., of the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters that the PCMH model’s focus on ongoing collaborative relationships with patients, as well as their support between office visits, likely explain the difference in results.

Getting patients with chronic conditions to change their habits and stick with their treatment can be instrumental in improving the quality of their care, as FiercePracticeManagement has previously reported. While the upfront costs to establish a PCMH can be high, they have demonstrated both improved quality of care and reduced overall costs by engaging with patients to keep them out of hospitals and emergency rooms, Heisler said.