Does Patient-Centered Medical Home Transformation Take Too Long?

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is often lauded as one of the most effective frameworks for practice transformation.  Integrating health IT and data analytics with population health management and care coordination strategies, the PCMH offers a structured, step-by-step guide for healthcare providers that want to provide high quality, highly personal care. 

Many of the organizations that fully embrace this mission see measurable improvements in their chronic disease management programs, their patient satisfaction scores, and even their accounting books.  But praise for the model isn’t universal, and a new report from the RAND Corporation about a long-term PCMH pilot program for federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) adds to doubts about the patient-centered medical home’s practicality and financial feasibility for certain types of organizations.

Can healthcare providers afford to invest the time and effort it takes to slowly transform into an effective patient-centered medical home?  Are current financial incentives adequate to offset the burdens of such a complicated improvement project?  Is there enough technical assistance available to the provider community to make large-scale patient-centered medical home adoption a reality?

The three-year FQHC Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration was formed as part of the CMS Innovation Center, and included 434 healthcare organizations spread across the country.  The project, which concluded in October of 2014, hoped to add to the growing body of evidence that showed the effectiveness of the patient-centered medical home for care coordination, quality, and population health management.

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