Over 1,800 primary care physicians in Michigan have been designated as patient-centered medical homes, by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Michigan, making it the largest PCMH effort in the country. This figure represents a 50% increase in PCMH-designated practices from last year.
The medical home model of care delivery is based on the idea that patients should have an ongoing relationship with a single primary care provider who coordinates all patient care. According to Thomas L. Simmer, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer for BCBSM, “People want closer relationships with their doctors, not only when they are sick, but when they need advice and guidance to keep them healthy. This program builds the type of primary care system the people of Michigan want for their families.”
About 5,000 primary care physicians in Michigan have worked toward PHMH designation with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Simmer believes the number of PCMH-designated practices will continue to grow in the coming years as physicians recognize the value of the medical home model.
While many features for BCBS Michigan’s medical home program focus on the ongoing relationship between physician and patient, several criteria are related to health information technology. Physicians looking to be designated as patient-centered medical homes must implement the following elements into their practices:
- Capabilities to report practice- and physician-level patient outcomes, efficiency of service and patient satisfaction.
- Patient registries to track and monitor patients’ care over the long term.
- An online patient portal system that allows for electronic communication and provides patients with greater access to medical information and technical tools.