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Homing In on the Medical Home

Edward Prewitt, for HealthLeaders Media, March 2, 2012

In 2009, the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society named St. Jude Medical Center among the top 1.6% of the nation's hospitals for its use of EMR to benefit patient care. EMR adoption did not come immediately, but has since become a key element of the medical home infrastructure.

C.R. Burke, president and CEO of St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, the physician practice organization of St. Joseph Health System, lists five elements of the medical home's IT infrastructure: EMR/EHR, patient health records, shared case management, utilization, and risk stratification and predictive modeling. All of these must work in concert within the PCMH.

The medical home is not simply an IT project, however—a point emphasized by Jeff Gartland, senior vice president of connectivity and clinical integration services provider RelayHealth, which sponsored the Rounds event. PCMH "is deployed through technology and supported by technology, but it is a true business model transformation," he said.

Another important step in building a successful medical home is getting the buy-in of physicians, Smith said. "The real big winner for doctors with PCMH is quality of care," he said. Physicians "like to do two things: They like to take care of patients, and they like to provide quality care. If a healthcare system can provide the structure to do that and then give them the reward and feedback … you've got a medical home."

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