8 Challenges to Medical Home Success

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
This post was written by Jessica Fornarotto

“What’s important about patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) is that they’re patient-centered. PCMHs are a partnership among practitioners, patients and their families that ensures and respects the decisions of the patients. And patients have the education and support they need,” explains Terry McGeeney, MD, MBA, director of BDC Advisors. Dr. McGeeney lists below the eight challenges in successfully changing to a PCMH.

The first challenge to PCMH success is that many physicians are reluctant to change. Physicians have been trained to be change-averse and variable-averse to avoid making mistakes at two o’clock in the morning, etc. Second, physician leadership and physician champions are critical. Sometimes this has to be trained and taught.

Next, there’s a culture that is very traditional in healthcare; we need to think and talk about that. There is also a culture within individual practices and health systems that creates barriers to successful transformation. Another challenge is that some providers are not able to function effectively in a team environment. This needs to be supported and transformed with the appropriate training provided.

The next challenge is communication, which is critical at multiple levels. Successful medical neighborhoods and clinically integrated neighborhoods (CINs) are built around communication, care plans, care that’s delivered, data, quality metrics, lab data, etc. The sixth challenge is that there has to be trust between all of the entities as systems are transforming and payor data becomes more critical. Partnerships with payors around shared savings or shared risk are becoming more common. Trust is critical and that hasn’t always existed.

Next, we need to make sure there are aligned incentives; you can’t ask people to do more work for the same compensation. You can’t ask them to assume more risk for the same compensation. Incentives need to be aligned around what is now called ‘value-proposition’ or ‘pay-for-value,’ or to where there is an expectation to improve quality and lower cost.

The final challenge is there needs to be full recognition that PCMH transformation is not easy. It’s very difficult and time consuming, but in the end it’s highly rewarding.

Excerpted from: Driving Value-Based Reimbursement with Integrated Care Models

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