A growing number of Americans are so disgusted by the state of healthcare that they are willing to tear down the system and start anew. Studies show that Americans want a new healthcare system in which a provider coordinates a patient's care and in which physicians, pharmacists, therapists, and other healthcare providers communicate on a secure computer platform.
Americans may not know the phrase "medical home," but that is what they are describing. They want a medical home because they have seen how a lack of coordinated care affects them. They don't understand why they have to fill out medical and family history forms at each doctor's offices, why their doctors don't communicate with one another, or why their physicians request duplicate tests because one doctor doesn't know what another is doing.
The concept is being tested in pilots throughout the U.S., and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is planning a demonstration project in 2010. For those struggling with the healthcare system, these far-off dates are not comforting. They want better care coordination now. Rather than wait to follow CMS' lead, there are health insurers who are funding medical home-inspired programs. Progress has been slow and more players are needed to make the medical home more than a movement.
Here are four ways healthcare leaders can jumpstart greater care coordination:
Most agree the current healthcare system is not working properly. It doesn't make sense to continue to pump money into a flawed system and get the same results. A better alternative for health insurers is to improve processes, through concepts like the medical home.
As The Commonwealth Fund study shows, the healthcare-paying public is not happy with the services provided. Are you going to answer your customers' requests or wait until the government legislates wide-ranging changes to the healthcare system?
Les Masterson is senior editor of Health Plan Insider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Note: You can sign up to receive Health Plan Insider, a free weekly e-newsletter designed to bring breaking news and analysis of important developments at health plans and other managed care organizations to your inbox.