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How the Medical Home May Save Primary Care

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, September 6, 2013

Years ago, with his office in chaos, Peter Anderson, MD, looked for a better way to practice primary care. He found it by developing "family team care," a model that looks a lot like what we call today the patient centered medical home.

Peter Anderson, MD, would have quit medicine in 2002 if he'd had an alternative.

Run ragged by his role as a primary care physician who served as a "gatekeeper" to his patients, frustrated by having invested early in electronic medical records yet working longer and harder, and getting poorer as he added staffing to comply with administrative responsibilities foisted upon him by payers, he was depressed and looking for an exit strategy.

"When I went on an EMR, that cut my productivity by 35%, and I was paying $2,500 a month for that privilege," he says. "I knew EMRs were the future, and I didn't go to medical school to get creamed by a machine, but that's what happened."

Instead of practicing efficient and effective healthcare, Anderson says his goal became "seeing as many patients as I could without making a mistake."

Even that was not enough. His office was in chaos, two of his nurses were openly threatening to quit, and his patients were dissatisfied. Besides that, he didn't know them.

"I had to focus more attention on the EMR than on the patient and lost patient interaction," he says. "That loss of connection was disheartening, but you lived and died by that EMR chart."

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