'Medical home' approach is growing

HUNTINGTON - Getting the right care to the right patient at the right time. It's the goal of all health care providers, but some medical professionals believe they have found a way to help achieve it in a more efficient way.

It's a model of care called the patient-centered medical home, and Marshall Health is one area provider that has been growing this concept among its patients for the past two years.

It's not a new concept, said Dr. James Becker, senior associate dean for clinical affairs at Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. It's an older one being revisited with the benefits of technology which allow for easier data collection and analysis.

Patient-centered medical home is a term for care that involves easier access to front-end medical care, better coordination between a patient's primary care provider and specialists, and a more comprehensive approach to the patient's care intended to give him or her as much care as possible early on, before a condition worsens.

That means regular wellness visits to track baseline health status, as well as regular screenings, early treatment for conditions that pop up and lots of education on preventative measures to stave off disease or the best ways to manage or improve any conditions they already have.

Marshall Health currently has 2,700 patients actively enrolled in this type of program, said Kelli Pasquale, the Patient Centered Medical Home manager for Marshall Health, which is constituted of health care providers associated with the medical school, including Marshall University Medical Center, the Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center and the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Remember the hometown doctor you'd go to for everything? Your entire welfare is with this practitioner? That's the concept of the medical home," Pasquale said.

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