'Medical home' model getting more attention

Fewer shortfalls in care reported

Interest appears to be growing for the "medical home" model of care, which provides patients with a coordinated, comprehensive approach to primary care.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) views the medical home model as promising and supports further research on how to best implement it, the association announced recently.

In a position statement, AAMC said every patient should have access to a medical home, meaning a continuous relationship with a health care provider or team of providers to help him or her navigate the health care system.

A recent survey of patients in the United States and six other countries, meanwhile, indicated that patients who have a medical home are less likely to report shortfalls in care coordination than those who don't.

The Commonwealth Fund study found that only 50% to 60% of adults across the countries surveyed have a regular physician or source of primary care that is easy to contact by phone, knows their medical history, and helps coordinate care — key attributes of a medical home.

In the United States, insured adults under age 65 were twice as likely as their uninsured peers to have a medical home. U.S. patients were more likely than those in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to report cost-related barriers to care, reflecting "cost-sharing as well as high rates of uninsurance," the authors said.

In its statement, AAMC said payment for the model should appropriately recognize and reward providers for prevention, care delivery, and coordination, and that providers should be trained to understand and implement the model within a team environment.