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IBM Global Business Services

IBM Institute for Business Value

Healthcare and
Life Sciences

Patient-centered medical home

What, why and how?
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) can serve as a foundation for full implementation include improved
access to patient information and clinical
for transformation of the U.S. healthcare system – if appropriately knowledge to improve prevention,
conceived and properly implemented. But it can also suffer from diagnosis and treatment; changes on the
part of other stakeholders (consumers,
unfettered expectations. This study makes the realistic case for why other physicians, hospitals, health plans,
and how stakeholders can participate in PCMH initiatives, identifies employers, governments and such life
sciences as pharmaceuticals); and a robust
critical issues and makes recommendations for best practices to infrastructure to support comprehensive,
increase the likelihood of initial success and sustainability. coordinated care.

Benefits, however, may come, however,

Replacing poorly coordinated, acute- A set of principles guide the development
may come at a cost. All stakeholders face
focused, episodic care with coordinated, and implementation of the medical home.
possibly difficult changes and might have to
proactive, preventive, acute, chronic, long- At the core of the medical home is the
make significant compromises. Even so, the
term and end-of-life care is foundational to patient’s active, personal, comprehensive,
alternatives could be even less desirable.
the transformation of the U.S. healthcare long-term relationship with a PCP. This
Status quo is not an option, so stakeholders
system. Many believe this can be best PCP is often a physician specializing in
should actively participate in collaboratively
accomplished by strengthening primary primary care, but also could be a physician
shaping a more affordable, sustainable,
care and having primary care provider- specialist for the dominant condition
high-valued healthcare system.
led (PCP) care delivery teams working affecting the patient or, in jurisdictions where
at the “top of their licenses” – at the level they are allowed to practice independently, A significant transformation of the U.S.
for which they are qualified and licensed. a nurse practitioner. Another key principle healthcare system appears imminent,
One approach to transforming primary of the PCMH is the team approach to care. including investments in prevention – which
care is the patient-centered medical home Quality and safety, combined with care should be a basis of primary care and the
(PCMH), or the “medical home” – an coordination, whole-person orientation PCMH. Medical homes can be created now
enhanced primary-care model that provides and appropriate reimbursement, represent as part of this transformation. Early medical
comprehensive and timely care and additional principles of the PCMH. Further, home pilots have demonstrated success in
payment reform, emphasizing the central patients benefit from enhanced access key areas such as improved quality, greater
role of teamwork and engagement by those such as more flexible scheduling and patient compliance and more effective
receiving care. communication channels. use of healthcare services. Plus, interest
and support are growing for the medical
To While medical homes can be a cornerstone
r ec home model across the healthcare and
vis eiv of transformation, they are not a “silver
it i ea life sciences landscape. From a financial
bm ve bullet.” They hold a great deal of promise,
.co rsio perspective, incentives are in place to help
m/ n of but many more supportive measures
he PCPs transform their practices.
alt the f need to be undertaken to fully realize
are ull re the benefits. For example, steps needed
/m p
ed ort,
ica p
lho leas
me e
Medical homes hold great promise – and applying these practices can help increase © Copyright IBM Corporation 2009
many initiatives are currently in progress. Even the likelihood of success for an initial rollout IBM Global Services
so, attempts with even the purest motives and a sustainable model. To help frame Route 100
Somers, NY 10589
can fail because of unrealistic expectations, discussions and provide guidance in utilizing U.S.A.
poor planning or poor implementations. current best practices when implementing Produced in the United States of America
Fortunately, best practices are emerging that a medical home, we offer observations and May 2009
All Rights Reserved
help to deal with these issues. Appropriately recommendations to guide current and future
IBM, the IBM logo and ibm.com are trademarks
initiatives. or registered trademarks of International
Business Machines Corporation in the United
States, other countries, or both. If these and other
FIGURE 1: When implementing a PCMH initiative, the problem at hand helps determine the IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first
best practices for common implementation issues. occurrence in this information with a trademark
symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S.
Is our approach registered or common law trademarks owned by
IBM at the time this information was published.
What are common consistently
What is the What are the best Such trademarks may also be registered or
implementation aligned with common law trademarks in other countries. A
problem? practices?
issues? problem we are current list of IBM trademarks is available on the
trying to solve? Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at
• What cost/quality/ • Incentives to • Who else has • Do you have… Other company, product and service names may
access issue(s) are participate addressed our - An appropriate be trademarks or service marks of others.
you targeting? • Members/patients problem? governance
- Near, long term? - What can we learn structure with the References in this publication to IBM products
• Initial funding and services do not imply that IBM intends to
• What are your vision, from them to right participants?
• Governance make them available in all countries in which IBM
guiding principles? address our key - An agreed-upon operates.
• Key metrics implementation project plan and
• Payments issues? strong project
• Practice
- Capabilities to
support the patient
• Technology cohort?
infrastructure - Metrics to measure
• Patient attribution alignment with and
• Sustainability progress toward
original objectives?

Source: IBM Global Business Services and IBM Institute for Business Value.

How can IBM help?

• IBM Healthcare Global Business Services: IBM empowers healthcare stakeholders and
patients with the right technology and tools to help facilitate collaboration among patient
and care delivery team to help achieve greater patient health and a healthier society.
• Research: Eight IBM research labs are applying the latest science to healthcares most
challenging business problems.

Key contacts:
Healthcare and Life Sciences:
Healthcare Transformation Paul Grundy, pgrundy@us.ibm.com
GBS Healthcare Robert Merkel, robert.merkel@us.ibm.com
GBS Healthcare Robert Hoyt, hoytr@us.ibm.com
Center for Healthcare Management Jim Adams, jim.adams@us.ibm.com
North America (East) Patrick Boyle, pboyle@us.ibm.com
North America (West) Amy David, david@us.ibm.com
IBM Institute for Business Value: Edgar Mounib, ed.mounib@us.ibm.com