In PCMH, the 'P' is Not for 'Physician'

Remember patients? They are a driver in healthcare transformation—perhaps the most important one.

The Health IT and Quality Exchange that HealthLeaders Media held in La Jolla, California, last week for CMOs, CIOs, and CMIOs was eye-opening on a number of fronts.

The ideas, successes, and challenges that the gathered healthcare leaders shared in our small group sessions illustrated that changing a workflow or a process isn't nearly as important as changing an organization's focus from physicians and payers to patients.

Don't get me wrong—redesigning work and reengineering processes around efficiencies that are intended to improve patient care are important, too. But retooling inpatient and outpatient processes to put the patient at the center of care (the aim of a patient-centered medical home) isn't as intuitive as it sounds.

The PCMH is often pointed to as one of the ways that primary care can be redesigned around the patient. The path to achieve NCQA status is arduous. Organizations have to demonstrate care coordination with a team-based approach that cares for the patient as a whole person, not just a patient with a medical condition. It requires coordination on many levels from IT tools to basic human resources.

Even organizations that are not going after PCMH certification are modeling new care models based on the core PCMH principles.

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