PCMH Care Model Combined with Health IT Improves Quality of Primary Care: Study | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

PCMH Care Model Combined with Health IT Improves Quality of Primary Care: Study

June 4, 2014
by John DeGaspari
| Reprints
Results suggest growing support for patient-centered care management

Primary care doctors practicing in a model of coordinated, team-based care that leverages health information technology are more likely to give patients recommended preventive screening and appropriate tests than physicians working in other settings, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study comparing quality of care by physicians using the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model to care from physicians in non-PCMH practices provides evidence that the previously unproven but popular model effectively provides care for patients.

In 2012, there were more than 90 commercial health plans, 42 states, and three federal initiatives testing the PCMH model. Although a PCMH could operate without electronic health records (EHRs), the technology has been shown to improve communication among providers, patients and their care teams. It keeps patients better informed about their health and guides providers' medical decision-making.

The study evaluated healthcare in New York's Hudson Valley where providers and payers operate independently. Researchers examined how care quality changed over three years (from 2008 to 2010) in 13 primary care practices that used EHRs and became PCMHs over the course of the study, compared with 64 practices that used EHRs but were not PCMHs and 235 non-PCMH practices that used paper-based systems to store patient health information.

The researchers compared medical claims from more than 140,000 commercially insured patients across 10 quality measures, such as eye exams, hemoglobin A1C testing to monitor blood-glucose levels, and lipid testing for patients with diabetes; breast cancer and colorectal cancer screening; and recommended tests for children with sore throats. They found that, over time, physician practices using the PCMH model scored between 1 and 9 percentage points higher than did non-PCMH practices on four of the 10 measures. Overall, the likelihood of receiving recommended care in PCMHs was 6 percent higher than in the group that used EHRs and 7 percent higher than in the group that used paper records.

The PCMH effect was independent of EHR technology, which, on its own, seemed to be insufficient to achieve improvements in care. The authors suggest that changes to organizational culture necessitated by the PCMH seem to play a role in improving quality of care. PCMHs require providers to become accountable for their performance, build teams by defining roles and responsibilities, and manage patient groups or populations rather than individuals. While none of those changes focus specifically on information technology, IT makes at least two—population management and performance accountability—easier for providers to achieve.

 

Topics

News

AMIA, Pew Urge Congress to Ensure ONC has Funding to Implement Cures Provisions

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) have sent a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to ensure that ONC has adequate funding to implement certain 21st Century Cures Act provisions.

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.