Evidence suggests medical home may improve quality and reduce costs

The medical home is by now widely recognized as a promising approach to delivering comprehensive care and ensuring the best outcomes for patients. Physician practices and clinics that provide a "patient-centered" medical home deliver primary care that includes around-the-clock access to primary and specialty care, as well as physician and patient access to electronic health records.

According to a Commonwealth Fund Digest article, new evidence shows that the medical home model of primary care delivery can lead to better-quality care and reduced costs. The Digest reports that findings from a recent study published in Health Affairs provide evidence that this model of care can improve quality of services and reduce costs. According to first-year results from pilot-test sites, Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania-which has adopted the model-has managed to reduce hospital admissions by 20 percent and save 7 percent in total medical costs. The article, co-written by Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis with Geisinger's chief technology and innovation officer, Ronald Paulus, M.D., and its president and CEO, Glenn Steele, M.D., also describes Geisinger's efforts to redesign its care delivery infrastructure and create incentives aligned to enhanced value in health care delivery.

(SOURCES: Commonwealth Fund Digest, October/November 2008, http://commonwealthfund.org, October 24, 2008)