Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Director of the federal Agency for Health Care Research and
Quality (AHRQ), describes the evolving concept of the medical home in this advice
column. A medical home takes a team approach to primary care and puts the
patient at the center of that team. The idea isn't new, but it’s getting tested in
new and larger ways. Medical home teams often work in a primary care doctor’s
office or clinic. Team members can include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and
physical therapists. They help coordinate their patients' care across a range of
settings, such as health clinics, hospitals, and cardiologists' or other medical
A medical home team also can help coordinate the care that you need beyond
primary care. For example, if you have heart disease, you might need to be seen
by a heart specialist. The medical home team can arrange for that visit, make sure
you're prepared, and see that any test results from the appointment are provided
to you and your care team.
Some of the largest primary care groups in the United States have agreed on
key principles of a patient-centered medical home. They are: the
American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the
American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association.
Starting this summer, the Federal government (PDF File; PDF Help) will
launch a 3-year demonstration of the medical home model for
Medicare patients testing this care model for older patients with certain illnesses
that need ongoing medical monitoring, advising, or treatment. Medical home
teams that want to take part in this project must be able to track patients' test
results, review medicines, and follow up with providers. The results of the
Medicare project will be important as the population ages as people 85 and older
are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. The 65 and older group is
expected to double in size in the next 25 years.
NCPIE encourages healthcare professionals and community groups to foster patient–professional communication about medicines. However, NCPIE does not supervise or endorse the activities of any group or professional. Discussion and action concerning medicines are solely the responsibility of the patient and their healthcare professionals, and not NCPIE.
Please consult a licensed health care professional with questions or concerns about your medication and/or condition.