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Patient-Centered Medical Home

The medical home is a concept first introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 1967. Initially, the AAP defined the medical home as the center of a child's medical records. Helping children with special health care needs was the primary focus of the medical home concept then. Over time, however, the definition of the medical home has evolved to reflect changing needs and perspectives in health care. Today's medical home is a partnership between patient, family, and primary provider in cooperation with specialists and community support. Under the collaborative efforts of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the characteristics of the medical home have been defined within these principles:

1. Personal physician:

Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician trained to provide first contact, continuous and comprehensive care.

2. Physician directed medical practice:

The personal physician leads a team of individuals at the practice level who collectively take responsibility for the ongoing care of patients.

3. Whole person orientation:

The personal physician is responsible for providing for all the patient's health care needs or taking responsibility for appropriately arranging care with other qualified professionals. This includes care for all stages of life; acute care; chronic care; preventive services; and end of life care.

4. Care is coordinated and/or integrated:

Across all elements of the complex healthcare system (e.g., sub-specialty care, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes) and the patient's community (e.g., family, public and private community-based services). Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

5. Quality and safety are hallmarks of the medical home:

  • Practices advocate for their patients to support the attainment of optimal, patient-centered outcomes that are defined by a care planning process driven by a compassionate, robust partnership between physicians, patients, and the patient's family.
  • Evidence-based medicine and clinical decision-support tools guide decision making.
  • Physicians in the practice accept accountability for continuous quality improvement through voluntary engagement in performance measurement and improvement.
  • Patients actively participate in decision-making, and feedback is sought to ensure patients' expectations are being met.
  • Information technology is utilized appropriately to support optimal patient care, performance measurement, patient education, and enhanced communication.

Practices go through a voluntary recognition process by an appropriate non-governmental entity to demonstrate that they have the capabilities to provide patient centered services consistent with the medical home model.

Patients and families participate in quality improvement activities at the practice level.

6. Enhanced access to care:

Is available through systems such as open scheduling, expanded hours and new options for communication between patients, their personal physician, and practice staff.

Source: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)


For seeking more information about access to care and medical homes in Lincoln, please contact the Lancaster County Medical Society at  402.483.4800


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