Primary doctors transform offices into patient-centered ‘medical homes’.

Posted by: admin on: August 1, 2011

 

  • The concept of establishing “medical homes” emerged in the health-care reform debate as a way to improve health-care quality and efficiency and cut costs.
  • The patient-centered medical home tends to the health of the whole person, involving a team that’s responsible for the patient’s care.
  • That includes coordinated, integrated care among primary care, specialists and hospitals. Built on a doctor-patient relationship, it re-establishes the primary care provider as the backbone of the health-care system.
  • A doctor who knows a patient well can order far fewer tests to diagnose a complaint than a doctor who’s unfamiliar with the patient. And there should be fewer duplicate tests ordered by primary care offices, specialists and emergency departments. There should be less repetition.
  • There should be less use of tests that aren’t necessary, less ER use, less hospital use,” said Dr. Christine Matson, Eastern Virginia Medical School’s chair of family and community medicine.
  • Patient-centered medical homes provide more access than a typical doctor’s office. Dr. Peter Anderson can often see his patients the day they call. That’s largely unheard of in the industry, causing problems to worsen or leading to costly emergency-room visits, he said. The concept is catching on, he said. Chances are, the changes will come to your physician’s office.
  • “Insurance companies are going to start paying doctors’ offices more if they’re a member of PCMH,” Anderson said. Becoming a patient-centered medical home is asking doctors to do more when they’re already busy just keeping up with status quo. That’s why it takes changes in the way physicians’ offices are structured, Anderson said. He beefed up his staff, adding nurses whom he trained to take medical histories and work with electronic health records. That enables him to see 35 patients a day, when other practices see 20 to 22 patients.
  • The focus on patient-centered medical homes would not be possible if not for electronic health records. Electronic records make it easy to see a doctor’s track record.
  • Electronic records also make it easier for doctors to keep track of patients. Doctors’ offices can be notified if patients have been admitted or discharged from a hospital or have missed a timely screening.
  • Currently physicians in medical practices are really, really busy. They’re really working as hard as they can, trying to do a great job. What we are offering through our pilot is helping the doctor see the right patient at the right time and giving the physician and the care team the resources they need to get the job done.”

Michael Williams of Hampton has been a patient of Anderson’s for 10 years or more. Unlike other practices, he doesn’t wait for hours in the waiting room, he said. And a few times, when something has come up, they fit him in for an appointment the day he called.

Read More on http://www.dailypress.com/health/dp-nws-cp-patient-centered-medical-ho20110218,0,7352792.story

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