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Telemed J E Health. 2011 Jul-Aug;17(6):495-500. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2010.0218. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

Technologies in the patient-centered medical home: examining the model from an enterprise perspective.

Author information

1
Arlington Innovation Center for Health Research, Virginia Tech, Arlington, Virginia, USA. clhughes@vt.edu

Abstract

Fee-for-service reimbursement has fragmented the healthcare system. Providers are paid based on the number of services rendered instead of quality, leading to the cost of care rising at a faster rate than its value. One approach to counter this is the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a primary care model that emphasizes team-based medicine, a partnership between patients and providers, and expanded access and communication. The transition to PCMH is facilitated by innovative technologies, such as telemedicine for additional services, electronic medical records to document patients' health needs, and online portals for electronic visits and communication between patients and providers. Implementing these technologies involves tremendous investment of funds and time from practices and healthcare organizations. Although PCMH does not require such technologies, they facilitate its success, as care coordination and population management necessitated by the model are difficult to do without. This article argues that there is a paradox in PCMH and technology is at its center. Although PCMH intends to be cost effective by reducing hospital admissions and ER visits through providing better preventative services, it is actually a financial risk due to the very real upfront costs of implementing and sustaining technologies needed to carry out the intent of the PCMH model, which may not be made up immediately, if ever. This article delves into the rationale behind why payers, providers, and patients have adopted PCMH regardless of this risk and in doing so, maps out the roles that innovative technologies play in the conversion to PCMH.

PMID:
21663447
DOI:
10.1089/tmj.2010.0218
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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