By Matt Kuhrt
The changes to physician payment models driven by the industry's shift in focus to value-based care create a positive environment for patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) to thrive, according to an article in RevCycleIntelligence.
A focus on providing primary care in order to help reduce unnecessary hospital admissions has been an ongoing strategy for PCMHs, and long-term studies have begun to track modest gains for practices using the model, though the cost of its implementation remains a barrier for many practices, according to previous reporting by FiercePracticeManagement.
The PCMH model works because its goals of reducing overall medical costs while improving the quality of care represent a practical model for delivering value-based care, according to the article, which goes on to describe successful protocols implemented by Mount Sinai's primary care practices in New York. These include a notification system for physicians when one of their patients visits an emergency room or is admitted to a hospital, as well as a coordinated system connecting patients with community and social services.
Widespread implementation of the PCMH model may also have been hampered by the perception that practices transitioning to it generated a short-term negative effect on patient satisfaction, according to the article. This may actually be a misperception, as the Commonwealth Fund issued a summary of a recent study suggesting that, if properly implemented, patients perceive an overall increase in their satisfaction with the practice.
The study's authors suggest that transitioning away from a fee-for-service payment model early in the process may be the key to keeping patient satisfaction high. The results suggest that doctors in the study may have felt less pressured to hurry through appointments, which produced better opportunities for higher-quality patient engagement, according to the summary.