Evolution of a Patient-Centered Medical Home

Carrie Vaughan, for HealthLeaders Media , February 10, 2011

We close the clinic one-half day each month and have a seminar to discuss the ideal of medical home and how we are performing or not performing. We have illustrations of where we are doing it well, and we share that by e-mail daily; and when we do not do it well, we share that as well. 

We welcome and seek ideas from all members of our team to improve our processes and outcomes. We post on our website by provider name performance on more than 200 quality metrics. 

HL: What advice do you have for practices seeking to undergo a similar transition?

Holly: Look into your own organization for the creativity and energy to change. There are many consultants and agencies who would like to charge you hundreds of thousands of dollars to transform you. At best that will be reformation. Transformation can only come from within, and it can only be sustained by your own passion, resolve, and relentless pursuit of excellence. Get counsel from those who have succeeded, evaluate their ideas, and modify them to your situation. Often the best help is free. Excellence and expensive are not synonyms. 

HL: For practices seeking recognition as a medical home, what should they know about the application process?

Holly: It is tedious and complex, particularly NCQA. But that may just reflect my prejudice about forms; others may find them simple and straightforward. Currently, less than 1% of medical practices have any form of medical home recognition, so the process is in its infancy. It is SETMA’s judgment that an ideal process would be a combination of AAAHC and NCQA.

HL: What lessons have you learned along this journey?

Holly: It is worth the process, the price, and the pain. This is the future of healthcare, and it is possible to be part of that future now. It is not easy, but it is not impossible. Measure your success by your own advancement and not by whether someone else is ahead or behind you. In the same way, share your success with others. The following steps will help:

  • Determine where you are and where you want to be.
  • Select the template or model you will follow.
  • Outline the steps you will take.
  • Develop a timeline for completing each task.
  • Be innovative. Emulate the best of others, but expand upon their work and make it yours.
  • Be patient but eager.
  • Enjoy what you are doing and celebrate where you are.

Carrie Vaughan is a senior editor with HealthLeaders magazine. She can be reached at cvaughan@healthleadersmedia.com.

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