Our Primary Care Doctors Offer Patient-Centered Medical Homes
According to Steven E. Spencer, MD, MPH, director of Population Management at Abington – Jefferson Health, “A patient-centered medical home has patients at the heart of its healthcare team. Your primary care physician, together with professionals in his or her practice and you and your family members or caregivers, work together to coordinate disease prevention and wellness, urgent and specialized care, acute or chronic care and end-of-life needs.
“We focus on prevention to improve your health, and if you develop a disease or condition, we want to address it as early as possible,” says Dr. Spencer. “We can help facilitate testing and treatment and coordinate with specialists.”
What constitutes a patient-centered medical home?
- Personal physician: An ongoing relationship with a primary care physician trained to provide first contact and continuing, comprehensive care. This physician leads a team of individuals in his or her practice.
- Coordinated care: Care is coordinated across specialists, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes, community-based services, with patients’ loved ones included as part of the team. All Abington Health Physicians primary care practices have care managers who coordinate care for our most vulnerable patients, including those who have a recent hospitalization or have chronic conditions.
- Quality and safety partnerships: Practices advocate for their patients to support optimal health outcomes using a planning process that follows medical guidelines for appropriate care.
- Enhanced access to care: Expanded hours and secure access to on-line records promote communication between patients, their personal physician and practice staff.
Should everyone look for a patient-centered medical home? Or just people with illnesses or other conditions?
“Whatever your age, you would benefit by building a relationship with your physician and office staff,” says Dr. Spencer. “You will appreciate the enhanced access to your doctor. If you develop a fever, bad cold, or other emergent condition, the office will ensure that you are able to schedule an appointment as quickly as possible.
“We also apply accepted metrics when we review your records throughout the year to determine when you should have recommended screenings,” he continues. “For example, when a person turns 50, it’s recommended that he or she have a colonoscopy. So your physician’s office would remind you to schedule one.”
How do I know if my physician offers a patient-centered medical home? Should I find a new primary care physician who has a NCQA-certified medical home practice?
“What’s most important is you develop good communication with your physician and the office staff,” says Dr. Spencer. “Look for accreditation by The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).”
Abington Health Physicians encourages the use of “MyAHLink – My Doctor,” an interactive portal that allows patients to better communicate with physicians, and provides secure access to medical records. “From reviewing lab results and educational information, to requesting medication refills or appointments, MyAHLink – My Doctor is a powerful and convenient way to connect with providers and better manage your own healthcare needs,” says Dr. Spencer. Talk to your AHP practice about setting up your portal.