You hear whispers of it on the wind, legends of time where one person saw one doctor, who knew all of their past ailments, and truly cared about their health and well being. This standard has seemed to have fallen by the wayside in the recent years, among all the chaos and hubbub of the current United States healthcare system. Doctors now get paid per patient they see per day, so crammed waiting rooms, curt visits and impersonal service have become the norm, and we have gotten so used to it that we haven’t even considered an alternate way of doing things. But take of your goggles of disbelief, because a more personal, cozy model of health care is being buzzed about.
What is the Medical Home Model?
Three years ago, the healthcare guru’s over at IBM started looking at what they were doing to improve the quality of life for their employees and realizing they were overlooking a crucial component: healthcare. After realizing this crucial change that needed to be addressed, the director of healthcare transformation at IBM, Dr. Paul Grundy, helped found the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC). This coalition of large employers, consumer organizations and medical providers developed the Medical Home model, and its combination of old school patient care combined with the latest in medical communication technology makes this unique and optimistic proposal for healthcare. Under the Medical Home proposition, one doctor would act as a coach for the team of specialists treating one patient, including things like preventative, holistic and wellness needs. More time is spent with the patients in person than you are probably getting from your doctor now, and the doctor is accessible on the phone and via e-mail in addition to extended office hours and coordination of care across the entire medical team.
Advanced Technology and Medical Care
The sharing of a patient’s health information via an EHR, or electronic health record, is an integral part of how the Medical Home model works. An EHR can help to reduce errors, eliminate duplicate tests, highlight drug interactions, improve overall quality of care and reduce costs. This interweb of information can allow a patient to access a web portal to schedule appointments and check their lab results, patient registries and e-prescriptions. With the click of a mouse, information about a patient’s health can be shared across a network of healthcare providers, and patients can always stay in the know about their treatment, doctor recommendations and medications by hopping online or picking up the phone. Instead of wasting precious free time that most of us don’t have, you would be able to utilize the tools readily available to you in the form of your phone and computer to stay in touch with your physician. Doctors would get extra money for being available for the patients in odd hours, and offices can get a little bit more money by implementing the technological changes necessary to upgrade the office. Phone and e-mail consultations would be reimbursed.