Medical Home Puts Patients at Center of Care

The heart of care at Group Health is your personal relationship with your doctor and your health care team.

"Medical home" is the name of an advanced model for primary care.  It's designed to give you expanded primary care that is personalized, focuses on prevention, actively involves you in making decisions about your care, and helps coordinate all your care and get your health needs met.

"A medical home is like an old-style family doctor's office, but with a whole team of professionals," explains Robert Reid, MD, PhD, associate investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies and Group Health's associate medical director for preventive care. "Together, they make the most of modern knowledge and technology to give patients excellent care and reach out to help them stay healthy."

The first study to demonstrate the measurable benefit to both patients and staff under the medical home model was published in the September 2009 American Journal of Managed Care. The study reported fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations, higher patient-satisfaction ratings, and increased use of e-mail, phone consultations, self-management support groups.  For Group Health, medical home was tested at the Factorial Medical Center in Bellevue.   Factoria patients reported that they received better health care through medical home, and the doctors reported 60 percent lower burn-out rate.

Impressed by the return on investment, Group Health expanded the medical home model from its Factoria to all 25 of its medical centers in Washington state.

What Does Medical Home Mean for You?

A stronger relationship with your personal physician. Your doctor knows you and your medical history, and works with you to take charge of your health care, whether you're focused on preventive care or managing a chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma.

Access centered on your needs — through office visits, phone visits, and secure e-mail. Between office visits, your doctor may check in with you to see how you're doing or answer any questions you might have. Many times, your doctor or a member of your doctor's health care team will call you, rather than waiting for you to call about a problem. And when you do call your doctor or your doctor's nurse, you're more likely to talk to them directly, rather than through the office or nursing staff.

More time spent on preventive care. Your doctor and your health care team will reach out to talk about any screening tests you need that can help find risk factors or early signs of illness. You'll discuss treatment options that can help slow or prevent illness. And you'll talk about any lifestyle changes you want to make and how to make them.

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