Lessons learned from implementing the patient-centered medical home.
The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is a primary care model that provides coordinated and comprehensive care to patients to improve health outcomes. This paper addresses practical issues that arise when transitioning a traditional primary care practice into a PCMH recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Individual organizations' experiences with this transition were gathered at a PCMH workshop in Alexandria, Virginia in June 2010. An analysis of their experiences has been used along with a literature review to reveal common challenges that must be addressed in ways that are responsive to the practice and patients' needs. These are: NCQA guidance, promoting provider buy-in, leveraging electronic medical records, changing office culture, and realigning workspace in the practice to accommodate services needed to carry out the intent of PCMH. The NCQA provides a set of standards for implementing the PCMH model, but these standards lack many specifics that will be relied on in location situations. While many researchers and providers have made critiques, we see this vagueness as allowing for greater flexibility in how a practice implements PCMH.