Implementing the Patient-Centered Medical Home
The medical home model holds promise as a way to improve health care in America by transforming how primary care is organized and delivered. As defined by AHRQ, the medical home encompasses five functions and attributes:
AHRQ also recognizes the central role of health IT in successfully operationalizing and implementing the medical home and notes that building a sustainable primary care delivery platform will require significant workforce development and fundamental payment reform.
As with many organizational re-design efforts, making the changes required to fully implement the medical home can be challenging. Successful experiences of early adopters confirm that primary care practices will require additional resources, support, and training to successfully adopt this new model of care. Many organizations are starting to provide this type of transformation support.
Practice facilitation is one of the most promising strategies to support transformation into the medical home. Practice facilitators are external agents who work with primary care practice teams to make meaningful changes with the goal of improving quality and outcomes of care. AHRQ is developing resources for organizations that are interested in providing practice facilitation services to primary care practices that are interested in becoming medical homes or are in the process of becoming medical homes.
Working with experts who have developed and implemented successful practice implementation programs, AHRQ has developed a manual, Developing and Running a Practice Facilitation Program for Primary Care Transformation: A How-To Guide . The intended audience for the guide is those who are interested in or who are developing practice facilitation programs. Web seminars and other opportunities for learning and dialogue among organizations that are interested in practice facilitation are also being planned – check the new “Practice Facilitation” page for updates and information.
Research on Implementation of the Medical Home
AHRQ supports research on many aspects of PCMH implementation. Findings from this research, especially lessons learned and practical tools about PCMH implementation, will be presented here as they become available.