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What's a Medical Home and How Can it Improve Your Care?

The Iowa Clinic is helping patients achieve better health through a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Read more!


Your Local Health | Written by BJ Towe

A “Patient-Centered Medical Home” combines, consolidates, and connects all aspects of your healthcare. And The Iowa Clinic is one of few Iowa providers to receive the NCQA's highest, Level-Three Medical Home certification.

Imagine having a single primary care team that has a 360-degree awareness of your health situation   — your health history, current concerns, prescribed medications, other medical providers, and more. This same team proactively communicates with you, supports you, maintains your records, and provides access to 24-hour emergency care. This is a Patient-Centered Medical Home, and it's how The Iowa Clinic is helping patients achieve better health.

“I want to provide the best possible care to my patients, but that can be challenging when someone receives treatment in multiple locations with multiple providers,” says Christina Taylor, M.D., an Internal Medicine physician with The Iowa Clinic. “A Medical Home has the people, processes, and record keeping in place that make it possible for me to get a more holistic view of a patient's health. A good electronic medical record and Medical Home better equip me to care for my patients. ”

According to a January 2014 report released by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (pcpcc.org), Medical Homes have been shown to produce:

Improvements in health indicators, such as better controlled blood glucose in diabetic patients, blood pressure, and blood pressure levels.

Increased use of preventive services, including patient screenings and immunizations.

Improvements in access to primary care clinicians as well as non-face-to-face visits.

Improvements in patient satisfaction.

Research also shows that Medical Homes reduce healthcare costs. “When you prevent disease, you also save money. But that's not why Medical Homes exist,” says Robert Lee, M.D., a Family Medicine physician at The Iowa Clinic. For nearly 20 years, Dr. Lee worked with national medical organizations to help create the Medical Home certification standards.

“The process to become a certified Level-Three Medical Home is extraordinarily detailed,” says Dr. Taylor. “There are a multitude of requirements, and each one has to be proven, documented, and verified.”

Engaging Patients in Conversations

“We are in an age when patients and healthcare providers each have critical responsibilities in improving health,” says Taylor. “A Medical Home makes it easier for patients to proactively engage in their health and well-being, and manage the diseases they may have.”

Medical Homes have the infrastructure that help physicians better educate patients, assure that they receive preventive care and screenings when needed, and help manage illness or disease when it is present. Patients gain the resources and tools they need to live more healthfully by eating better, moving more, not drinking to excess, quitting smoking, and more.

“It's exciting,” adds Lee. “As part of a Medical Home, it's easy for patients to ask questions when they have a concern, without having to come into the office. It's also easier for me to alert patients when they are due for a physical exam, for example, rather than wait for them to make an appointment.”

Patient-Centered Medical Home

A Medical Home is centered on the patient and involves a team – the primary care physician, nurses, specialists, and other providers.

ACCESS TO CARE AND INFORMATION

  • Same day appointments in most cases
  • MyHealth*
  • Imaging and lab services

CARE MANAGEMENT

  • Wellness promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • Chronic disease management
  • Patient reminder program

CARE COORDINATION

  • Multispecialty team
    –  Specialist care
    –  Primary care
  • Care transition for inpatient and outpatient
    –  Skilled nursing
    –  Hospitals
    –  Home healthcare

CARE TEAM

  • Physician-led team with knowledge of your patient history
  • Shared goals
  • Effective communication
  • Patient participation

QUALITY AND SAFETY

  • It is our responsibility to provide the most up to date treatments. We actively review and monitor our practice to provide a safe environment for patients and visitors.
  • We value your feedback and conduct ongoing patient satisfaction surveys.

HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

  • Electronic medical records to ensure continuity of care when you are seeing an Iowa Clinic physician
  • Electronic orders and reporting
  • Electronic prescriptions
  • Patient access via MyHealth –
    patient portal

* MyHealth is a secure, online tool that keeps patients connected with their care team. Features include appointment request, test results, prescription refill request and patient-to-provider communication. Register today at iowaclinic.com/myhealth.

Certified Patient-Centered Medical Homes

If your primary care provider has been certified as a Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), you automatically benefit from this holistic, highly individualized approach to improving your health. The Iowa Clinic is one of just a few Iowa providers to achieve the NCQA's highest Level-Three certification, meaning it has all of the technology, tools, and commitment to help you improve your health. The Iowa Clinic's Medical Homes include:

The post What's a Medical Home and How Can it Improve Your Care? appeared first on Iowa Clinic.

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