There has been a lot of discussion about the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of healthcare as a way of transforming how care is delivered. In this model, a personal physician leads a team of caregivers that has the necessary background and skills to handle the particular healthcare needs of the patient, and when additional specialized services are required, can advise and guide the patient to the most effective access and use of those services.
In the PCMH model, the patient has an ongoing relationship with their personal physician and the care team, who are actively involved in providing continuous and comprehensive care. The care team may include nurses, counselors, and social workers so that all aspects of the basic health management of the patient can be addressed. Rather than waiting for an illness episode, this team works to responsibly manage and promote health and wellness, as well as dealing with chronic health issues. Communication between team members and the patient is important, as is expanded access using all of the common tools of today, including phone, text, and email. In the near future, this will expand to include wearable technology that automatically informs the PCMH team when certain health criteria are met or exceeded, as the case may be.
What’s the Win?
Done well, a patient-centered medical home model can help patients live a more healthy life, and in the case of illness or chronic conditions, to manage treatment and medications in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. The whole patient is kept in focus, not just a particular illness or ailment. Patient engagement with a team that they view as their partners enhances their own commitment and accountability that is essential to long term health.
Is a Virtual Medical Home coming next?
In the next post, we’ll examine the concept of the virtual medical home and contrast it with the traditional model described above.