Four organizations representing more than 350,000 primary care physicians released joint "Guidelines for Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition and Accreditation Programs." The new guidelines — created by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association — build on the Joint Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home, which the four groups developed and adopted in February 2007.
As the PCMH model of health care gains prominence, a number of organizations are developing or offering medical home recognition or accreditation programs. The new guidelines aim to ensure some standardization among those accreditation programs while encouraging a focus on the key elements of the PCMH.
According to the guidelines, all PCMH recognition or accreditation programs should:
1. Incorporate the Joint Principles of the PCMH;
2. Address the complete scope of primary care services;
3. Ensure the incorporation of patient and family-centered care emphasizing engagement of patients, their families, and their caregivers;
4. Engage multiple stakeholders in the development and implementation of the program;
5. Align standards, elements, characteristics, and/or measures with meaningful use requirements;
6. Identify essential standards, elements, and characteristics;
7. Address the core concept of continuous improvement that is central to the PCMH model;
8. Allow for innovative ideas;
9. Acknowledge care coordination within the medical neighborhood;
10. Clearly identify PCMH recognition or accreditation requirements for training programs;
11. Ensure transparency in program structure and scoring;
12. Apply reasonable documentation/data collection requirements; and
13. Conduct evaluations of the program's effectiveness and implement improvements over time.