Patient Experience Over Time in Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Objectives: Although the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model is being implemented across the country to transform primary care, it is not yet clear whether this model actually improves patients’ experiences with healthcare. Our objective was to measure patients’ experiences over time in practices that transformed into PCMHs.

Study Design: We conducted a prospective study, using 2 serial cross-sectional samples, in a multipayer community.

Methods: We surveyed 715 patients: 346 at baseline, when practices had just completed transformation, and 369 at follow-up, which was a median of 15 months later. These patients received care from 120 primary care providers at 10 ambulatory practices (20 sites) that achieved Level III PCMH, as defined by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. We measured patient experience, as defined by the 7 domains of the Clinician and Group-Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS) Adult Primary Care Questionnaire.

Results: Patients’ self-reported experience with access to care improved significantly over time, with 61% of respondents giving access to care the highest rating at baseline versus 69% at follow-up (P = .02). There were no significant changes over time for the other domains.

Conclusions: The PCMH was associated with improvements in patients’ experience with access to care but not other domains of care. This study, which took place in a multi-payer community, is one of the first to find a positive effect of the PCMH on patient experience. 

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