Patient-Centered Medical Homes At a Glance

The changes patients will experience within a patient-centered medical home are subtle but substantial:

Primary Care Today PCMH Home Care
Patient sees doctor or physician’s assistant Patient is assigned to a care team, headed by a primary care physician
Patient is treated for the problem that brought him/her to the office today Patient receives a checkup, allowing an overall health assessment in addition to treating the existing problem
Today’s problem is treated and the patient leaves Patient works with care team to develop a plan for managing his/her needs; patients and teams partner
Patients may not have the opportunity to ask all questions of busy doctors Patients and doctors spend more time together during visits, giving patients the opportunity to get questions answered and provide feedback
Patient must make own appointments for care Care team coordinates all of patient’s appointments for care, inside and outside the medical home
Doctor may or may not follow the guidelines, based on available time and personal judgment Use of evidence-based guidelines is the standard; results are tracked and measured to ensure high-quality care
Doctors must rely on patient’s knowledge of test results and prescriptions Electronic medical records allow all of patient’;s doctors to have the same information, which reduces wasteful duplication and potentially dangerous mixing of prescriptions
Patients must initiate their own follow up Coordination ensures that patients have follow-up appointments in their medical home or at home after a hospital stay
Patients may have difficulty reaching the doctor and often find it harder to get appointments With extended hours, patients’ portals, email and other contact options, doctors and care teams are more accessible

Next: The South Los Angeles Safety Net: Integrating Care in South Los Angeles

Patient-Centered Medical Homes
The Southside Coalition Story
Community Health Centers: Better Care, For Less
The Problems Community Health Centers Address
How Well Do Community Health Centers Really Work?
The South Los Angeles Safety Net: Filling the Gaps