A recent article by Software Advice, which reviews and advises buyers on EHR software, explored the benefits, challenges, and strategies for implementing the increasingly prevalent patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. Among the valuable insights and information provided in the article, one section in particular stood out: “‘If you ask most practices in America if they think they’re a patient-centered medical home, they’ll say yes,’ says Peggy Reineking, NCQA’s (National Committee for Quality Assurance’s) director of clinical recognition programs. ‘But to really become a medical home, you need to go through a process of changing yourself from a traditional doctor-centered medical practice, and there’s a lot that goes into that.’”
Although many health systems are beginning to adopt the PCMH model, they often struggle to produce enduring results. With the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) promotion of the PCMH as a tool for reshaping the delivery of healthcare, health systems are strategizing ways to provide patient-centered, value-based care through the PCMH model. But implementing a PCMH is only the first step in a transformative process. This transformation is an ongoing journey intended to ensure the delivery of more comprehensive, coordinated care aimed at improving health outcomes, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs.
In working with clients, we have seen increasing interest in understanding how to not only make the transition to the PCMH model of care but also successfully sustain and leverage the model for larger population health initiatives and improved reimbursement. All too often, we see health systems put the time and effort into becoming a recognized PCMH only to return a year later to providing care the way they did before the model’s implementation. This is in part due to a shortage of identified available resources (financial and staff), as well as issues in implementing the behavioral and cultural changes necessary to manage and improve the model over time. To avoid going down this path, we recommend leveraging a structured means of implementing, evolving, and integrating the PCMH into your “business as usual.” For a PCMH to be meaningful, successful, and sustainable, it must be done right.
As market forces continue to spur the development of value-based care delivery models, health systems that postpone care redesign will struggle to remain viable in the future. It is our opinion that the PCMH model is one potential solution that is here to stay. Health systems that truly embrace this model will be well positioned to provide better patient care, resulting in improved outcomes. With an effective PCMH in place, healthcare providers can at last focus on what really matters: delivering value-based care that is truly patient-centered.
To learn more about creating a sustainable PCMH, read the Diagnostic on our Web site.