Some of you may remember the TV series “Cheers.” While it was essentially a sitcom, I believe that the show had something important to offer. I am referring to the theme song, which goes, “Sometimes you want to go/Where everybody knows your name/And they’re always glad you came.”
What does this have to do with the primary care medical practice? A lot!
As medical care becomes more complex, with greater use of specialists and sophisticated testing and technology, having a primary care team committed to each patient’s health is more important than ever before.
After all, people who have regular contact with their primary care physicians are likely to live longer and be healthier.
A new model of primary care — the patient-centered medical home — was designed to make sure the patient is always at the center of the care team.
The patient-centered medical home increases patients’ access to the doctor’s office through various means, including longer hours, telephone consultations, electronic visits, and even group visits.
The model emphasizes better care coordination among health care team members and seeks to avoid unnecessary or redundant testing. It also focuses on helping patients better manage chronic conditions.
For example, a primary care patient-centered medical home can remind patients when it’s time for a critical health screening, such as a mammogram or colonoscopy, and when it’s time for a follow-up appointment.
This new model requires physicians and our teams hone skills such as:
- How to create an effective care team;
- How to better engage patients in their care;
- How to identify and track patients who are at high risk for health problems;
- How to improve transitioning patients from the office to the hospital, or hospital to rehab or other setting; and
- How primary care can improve care for people with depression and other behavioral health issues.
If you want to learn more about ways to enhance the care you deliver, plan to attend the upcoming Texas Primary Care and Health Home Summit. The Texas Medical Association is a founding sponsor of the sixth-annual summit, which is dedicated to helping clinicians and their staff incorporate new tools and methods to improve care.
It’s the only summit of its kind in Texas. Don’t miss out!
Physicians and other members of the primary care team interested in attending the summit on April 5-6 at the Renaissance Hotel at the Arboretum in Austin, visit www.texashealthhomesummit.org.
Dr. Bornstein is an internist in Dallas, executive director of the Texas Medical Home Initiative, and a member of the TMA Board of Trustees.