WHAT IS A “MEDICAL HOME?”

Medical Home” is a new term being used by medical practices to help attract and keep patients. According to this article on MSN, patients have a “medical home” when they have a regular health care provider or place of care, have no difficulty contacting a provider by phone, have no difficulty getting advice or medical care when needed on weekends or evenings, and find office visits well-organized and efficiently run.

Research is showing that when people have a medical home their health is better and they are more likely to follow through with the doctor’s advice and treatment. A regular provider improves preventive care, chronic care, and overall health care. A survey released by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation focused on improving healthcare practice and policy, shows that only 27% of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 reported having all four elements of a medical home.

This concept is part of the move toward “collaborative care” where doctors and their staff all work together for the good of the patient. They focus not only on when the patient is sick, but also managing their everyday health and following up on treatment and the patient’s progress and overall health. Collaborative Care is one of the things to look for when choosing a doctor, according to the article entitled “How to Find a Good Doctor” in the LA Times.

Find more about medical homes on the Commonwealth Fund’s website here.

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