What is a Patient-Centered Medical Home?

As defined by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a model of care that strengthens the clinician-patient relationship by replacing episodic care with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship. Each patient has a relationship with a primary care clinician who leads a team that takes collective responsibility for patient care, providing for the patient’s health care needs and arranging for appropriate care with other qualified clinicians. The medical home is intended to result in more personalized, coordinated, effective and efficient care. A medical home achieves these goals through a high level of accessibility, providing excellent communication among patients, clinicians and staff and taking full advantage of the latest information technology to prescribe, communicate, track test results, obtain clinical support information and monitor performance. NCQA launched its PCMH model in 2008 and updated standards in 2011.

Other organizations have defined and set guidelines for the medical home concept including the American Academy of Pediatrics, which introduced the medical home concept in 1967, and the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians, which have developed their own models for improving patient care called the “medical home” or “advanced medical home.”

For more information on PCMHs, see the Rural Health Information Hub’s Rural Care Coordination Topic Guide.


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