August 26, 2011
PCMH: Assisting Primary Care Physicians as well as Patients
A Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is not a particular type of hospital or building but an alternative approach to delivering health care that provides coordinated, continuous patient-centric medical care, managed by a team of individuals led by a physician. PCMHs employ the latest technology available to make optimum use of time and funds in order to deliver best possible healthcare to the patients. Although the concept is not new it has gained recognition and popularity among patients and physicians alike due to the recent health reforms. There are numerous pilots being carried out in various parts of the country and the results are positive and fruitful for health care providers and patients.
Coordinating patient care
Primarily, a PCMH integrates care across the healthcare spectrum including specialists, hospitals, therapists, laboratories, druggists, and home health to avoid duplicate care and curtail errors. It aims to assist physicians in keeping up-to-date with the patient history and also helps patients by giving them the opportunity to receive care from one physician over long periods of time. This simply ensures that the physician knows the patient history and the patient trusts the type of care that is being provided. This in-depth knowledge of a patient’s history in a practical manner and on record allows physicians to make decisions that are relevant and efficient at the same time. It also offers extended hours which goes a long way in keeping patients out of expensive emergency rooms. Moreover, by sharing the information and decision-making with the patients, it enables and supports them to manage their own care and keep healthy.
Health Information Technology
The healthcareIT sector is another feature of PCMH that helps primary care providers to enhance the efficiency of the work flow process, improve the quality of care, and provide outcome measurements as well as accountability. Physicians, nurses and primary healthcare providers are using this technology to make informed decisions on the latest and real-time information available due to Electronic Health Records (EHR).
The time factor plays a vital role in the health care industry and patients and physicians can suffer due to the delays in various process. PCMH aims to ensure that patients can visit a health care provider without scheduling on the same day that they think they need a health check up. Time is also saved due to the e-prescriptions which are a feature of PCMH and let the physicians prescribe medicines online. Moreover, due to such e-prescriptions, patients do not have to wait for their medicines since they are already ready to be delivered when the patient visits a PCMH.
In the PCMH model, cost effectiveness results from enhanced care and improved patient health, which reduce the need for healthcare services. Patient Centered Medical Homes not only increase the efficiency of primary care physicians but also help in augmenting the revenue by rewarding the quality of the outcome rather than the volume. PCMHs are also good for the revenue and affordable for patients because of the incentives provided by the government to physicians to adopt new technology such as EMR or EHR. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that PCMH increase the revenue because of the sharing of savings among many physicians as a coordinated effort.
The future of PCMHs is good for primary care physicians who can increase their revenue and provide better care for patients. This can be especially effective in caring for ailments such as diabetes, chronic illnesses, and enhance preventive care. However, it can be more beneficial for primary care physicians rather than specialists and thus provides a solution to the most problematic area in medicine in the United States. PCMHs can act as an efficient entry point for patients in the health industry and provide long term primary care for patients.
For more information on how PCMHs are likely to impact Primary physicians and their billing processes effectively and cost-effectively cope with it, or to know more about our consultancy services on how physicians can handle these and similar issues in their practice, please visit medicalbillersandcoders.com, the largest consortium of billers and coders in the US across all specialties.