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Homing In on the Medical Home

Edward Prewitt, for HealthLeaders Media, February 13, 2012
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This article appears in the February 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The concept of the patient-centered medical home, introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics way back in 1967, continues to gain steam. But what does it mean to be patient-centered?

Lee Penrose, president and CEO of St. Jude Medical Center, a 384-licensed-bed hospital in Fullerton, CA, part of populous Orange County, recalled the concerns he had after hiring a consultant to interview patients. "We asked them to come in and look with fresh eyes, talk with some of our patients, talk to community members about what they think about healthcare," Penrose said. "The resounding answer we got back was: Healthcare is something you have to navigate your way through.

"We didn't always like a lot of what we heard," Penrose admitted. "But we listened and made changes so that we could develop the essential elements of a patient-centered home—working closely with our communities, inspiring the team and setting common goals for our patients' health."

The interviews were early in the formation of a PCMH within St. Jude's parent organization, St. Joseph Health System, which has annual revenues of $4.5 billion. Penrose and other executives discussed the motivation for PCMH and the path to creating one at the HealthLeaders Media Rounds event, The Business and Clinical Path to Medical Home, hosted by St. Joseph in Orange, CA.

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