Physicians Treating Patients in PCMH’s Offered Enhanced Patient Care, Even during Early Transformation
Patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) are physician practices that use cross-disciplinary teams of professionals who put the patient at the center of the healthcare delivery system by focusing on improving outcomes while reducing costs associated with inconsistent, duplicate, or fragmented care. Typically, patient-centered medical home practices are open beyond traditional office hours and use technology to be more proactive in managing and communicating with their patients.
Most PCMH studies are limited to measuring whether patients have their cholesterol levels taken, receive their HbA1c testing, and reporting their values.
HealthCore went beyond these to measure whether patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease had better health outcomes in a hallmark study comparing patient results based on PCMH status. This baseline study included a control group of commercially insured members in some practices in New York not treated by PCMH practices to draw more accurate comparisons. The study included 31,032 PCMH and 350,015 non-PCMH patients.
Physicians treating patients in PCMHs were more likely to provide higher quality of care, foster better health outcomes at lower cost prior to receiving PCMH recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). These evidence support that the standards for PCMH recognition by NCQA are consistent with and help to promote high-quality, cost-effective care.
Another important implication of this study is that the transformational process leading up to PCMH recognition usually happens over a period of time, and potential benefits associated with the transformation also accrue over time.