The right care in the right place at the right time
Rockport — What is a patient-centered medical home?
The medical home is not a place, but a philosophy of healthcare that emphasizes the needs of every patient.
The patient-centered medical home is built around the patient, both children and adults, as the focal point.
Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who leads a team that takes collective responsibility for that patient's care. Your primary care doctor is the “quarterback” and other team members — nurses, lab technicians, a patient care coordinator, pharmacist or physical therapist — work together to ensure that the care for every patient is appropriate, continuous and integrated to support the patient’s optimal health. The results can be happier, healthier patients, faster recovery by those who are ill or hospitalized, improved quality of life for those with serious and chronic conditions and reduced health costs through better diagnoses or avoiding preventable surgeries.
In the patient-centered medical home model:
- The patient is involved in all points of the decision-making process.
- A healthcare coordinator helps to manage all services and will have knowledge about you from your common health record and a “care” plan which is especially helpful for patients with complex healthcare issues. The care coordinator is actively involved with you and will remind you of regular check-ups and other preventive care steps.
- Doctors and providers will be able to share your medical history through the MaineHealth shared electronic health record (SeHR), which increases efficiency and potentially minimizes errors and costs. If a patient needs to go elsewhere for tests or specialty care, the team has a process in place to ensure that the results are added to the patient’s medical files and become a part of that patient’s care.
Pen Bay Pediatrics became the first Pen Bay Healthcare practice to embrace the patient-centered medical home model in 2010. Since then, they have been working toward certification by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. This designation signifies that the practice has met a set of rigorous national standards established to improve health through the coordinated management of patient care.
The basic goal of the medical home model is high quality, safety and efficient services. Your providers are available when you need them with decreased delays in obtaining an appointment. Many Pen Bay practices offer same-day, as well as evening or weekend appointments. Being able to see your doctor right away can prevent health complications and reduce unexpected emergency room visits. Pen Bay Pediatrics has seen a significant decrease in the use of emergency room care by their patients, almost 25 percent less in the first year that pediatrics implemented the medical home concept. For the convenience of patients who have evening appointments, the Pen Bay Pharmacy remains open to fill prescriptions.
Everyone has a role to play in getting you what you need as rapidly as possible in the patient-centered medical home. These team members help you get healthy, stay healthy and get the care and services that are right for you.
Stay tuned as other Pen Bay primary care practices integrate the medical home model concept over the next two years. Ask your provider for more information. To find a Pen Bay doctor, call 596-8200 or visit pbmc.org/findadoctor.
Dana Goldsmith, MD, works in Pediatrics at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.