What is a Medical Home?
A “Patient-Centered Medical Home” combines, consolidates and connects all aspects of your healthcare. 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.
“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. 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."
-Christina Taylor, M.D., Internist at The Iowa Clinic
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; there are a multitude of requirements, and each one has to be proven, documented, and verified,” says Dr. Taylor.
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 helps 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.
“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.”
-Robert Lee, M.D., Family Medicine Provider at The Iowa Clinic