It certainly doesn’t sound like a radical notion, but the idea of putting patients first is creating something of a revolution in healthcare that is lowering costs while delivering high-quality care to millions of Americans.
Further reading: Hospitals are shifting to a retail model—will doctors follow?
Leading the revolution are primary care physicians under a model that makes them responsible for creating and heading a “medical home” for patients—a place where they can seek treatment from primary care physicians and other professionals, and coordinate any needed care with sub-specialists and hospitals. The idea is to enhance preventive care, improve disease management and patient outcomes while cutting the system’s inefficiencies.
The approach is already paying dividends.
In Oregon, a groundbreaking study released in October found that the state’s Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program saved its healthcare system an estimated $240 million between 2012 and 2014 and predicted that the growth of the program would lead to even greater savings in the future.
By putting the focus on primary care, state health officials say, Oregon is making huge strides toward improving the health of its citizens while at the same time lowering costs. According to the study commissioned by the Oregon Health Authority, for every $1 increase in primary care expenditures under the PCPCH model, the state’s healthcare system realizes an average savings of $13.
Another popular model that’s putting patients first is the Accountable Care Organization (ACO)—a group of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who voluntarily work together to give high-quality care to their Medicare patients. While different in a number of respects, Medicare ACOs share the same goals as the PCPCH model—improving healthcare services and the quality of care for patients while keeping costs down.