The Patient-Centered Medical Home and Patient Experience

Numerous professional groups have called for a redesign of clinical care and adoption of patient-centered medical home (PCMH) processes. In this model of care, a personal physician provides continuous and coordinated care throughout a patient’s lifetime in order to maximize health outcomes.

These researchers examined the relationship between PCMH processes and patients’ perceptions of the care they received. They used data from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national program Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) Consumer Survey, and two national surveys, one of large physician practices (20 or more physicians), and one of small and medium-sized practices (1 to 19 physicians).

They looked at three measures of the patient care experience:

  1. Interpersonal exchange—the quality of the physician–patient exchange during office visits.
  2. Treatment goal setting—collaboration between physician and patient establishing care plans.
  3. Out-of-office contact—availability of physician through mail, phone, and e-mail.

The researchers found that greater use of PCMH processes was not associated with patients’ care experience.

Among their explanations—patients may not be aware they are part of a PCMH, some practices have not fully implemented the PCMH and use only a few of the PCMH processes, or that PCMH processes have a lagged effect on patient experiences.