Will the Patient-Centered Medical Home Transform the Delivery of Health Care?

A policy paper that examines the promise of the medical home model of care concludes it has the potential to transform health care delivery, but that organizations promoting the model should tread carefully. The paper, written by the Urban Institute’s Robert Berenson, Kelly Devers and Rachel Burton, reviews the positive feedback it has received, but warns that providers, policy-makers and others should wait to implement it before evidence of the model’s effectiveness is available.

The paper notes that stakeholder organizations have yet to agree on a definition and set of standard components for a practice to be considered a medical home. The model is currently being tested in dozens of pilots nationwide that could answer questions about whether medical homes actually improve the quality of care and the health outcomes of patients, which components of the medical home model have the largest impact on these outcomes and what levels of reimbursement are needed to get providers to engage in the desired activities. According to the paper, patience to evaluate the pilots and recalibrate the model accordingly is necessary for the medical home to live out its promise.