Study shows medical home model increases quality of care

October 1, 2009

A one-year evaluation study from the Group Health Cooperatives demonstrates that a medical home model in conjunction with health information technology could solve the nation's primary care physician shortage.

A one-year evaluation study from the Group Health Cooperatives demonstrates that a medical home model in conjunction with health information technology could solve the nation’s primary care physician shortage.

The study, published in the American Journal of Managed Care, found that a “patient-centered medical home” gives patients more one-on-one time with the physician, improves caregiver cooperation and provides more preventative care.

According to the study, a sample of 9,200 patients from Group Health’s medical home was compared to a control group, which showed that after one year patient visits to an emergency room decreased by 29 percent, the rate of hospitalizations dropped by 11 percent and the medical home had 6 percent fewer in-person visits.

In addition, the use of e-mail and mobile phones allowed physicians in the medical home to provide better care to patients, including screening tests, management of chronic illness and monitoring of their medications.  Furthermore, the study states that these methods helped ease physician workload.

However, each doctor was responsible for more patients, resulting in the need to hire extra staff, including clinical pharmacists, physician assistants, medical assistants, registered nurses and primary doctors. The study shows these costs were recouped within the year.