Implementing Patient-Centered Medical Home Pilot Projects

As the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model emerges as a key vehicle to improve the quality of healthcare and to control costs, many Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) communities are implementing pilot programs that promise to reinvigorate primary care as the driver of larger changes within regions.

The widely endorsed 2007 joint principles of the PCMH, developed by a coalition of professional organizations, focus on the many attributes that make primary care a locus of quality improvement: access to care, enhanced communication between patients and their health care team and care coordination. The principles also stress evidence-based practice, electronic health records (EHR), and payment models that support these activities.

For AF4Q communities, PCMH initiatives promise to move the dial on key dashboard indicators, enabling consumer-driven care, activating patient engagement, rationalizing and coordinating processes and ultimately improving outcomes.

This brief is the first in a series of updates from the AF4Q Ambulatory Quality Network, a peer learning network designed help communities build the infrastructure for ongoing improvement in primary care. Launched in early 2010, the Network consists of peer-to-peer learning groups, online resources, and direct technical assistance from local and national experts.

At AF4Q’s May 2010 national meeting, a panel of community leaders in the Ambulatory Quality Network shared their experiences with PCMH pilot programs. Each has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities involved in recruiting practices, supporting change and engineering payment models that can sustain medical homes.