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Ann Fam Med. 2013 May-Jun;11 Suppl 1:S68-73. doi: 10.1370/afm.1547.

Becoming a patient-centered medical home: a 9-year transition for a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers.

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  • 1The Institute for Family Health, New York, New York 10003, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model has great potential for optimizing the care of chronically ill patients, yet there is much to be learned about various implementations of this model and their impact on patient care processes and outcomes.

METHODS:

We examined changes in patterns of health care use in a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout a 9-year period of practice transformation that included recognition of all centers by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as Level 3 PCMH practices. We analyzed deidentified data from electronic health records for the period 2003 to 2011 to identify patterns of service use for all 4,595 patients with diabetes. We also examined a subsample of 545 patients who were in care throughout the study period to track improvement in glycated hemoglobin levels as a clinical measure over time.

RESULTS:

Through the transition to a PCMH, the mean number of encounters with outreach, diabetes educators, and psychosocial services increased for all diabetic patients; virtually all patients had visits with a primary care clinician, but the mean number of visits decreased slightly. Among patients in the subsample, mean annual levels of glycated hemoglobin decreased steadily during the 9-year study period, mainly driven by a reduction in patients having baseline levels exceeding 9%.

CONCLUSIONS:

This retrospective study conducted in a real-world setting using electronic health record data demonstrates a shift in resource use by diabetic patients from the primary care clinician to other members of the care team. The findings suggest that PCMH implementation has the potential to alter processes of care and improve outcomes of care, especially among those with higher disease burden.

KEYWORDS:

certification; change; diabetes; organizational; patient-centered medical home; practice-based research; primary care

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