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Patient Centered Medical Home: Tips to Maintain Your Recognition

doctor explaining healthcare to his patient

If you’re like many other healthcare providers facing this business environment, you’ve realized it is time for a change to a better model of care – Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH). More than 60,000 providers and 12,000 practices have been recognized as PCMHs meeting rigorous standards and requirements focused on patient needs, improved access and enhanced quality.

Transforming to the PCMH model isn’t easy. It requires major change – a 360-degree turnaround! But in the end, your practice shifted from being reactive to a proactive model. You and your staff instituted a new culture of team-based, whole-person care. New policies and procedures were instituted that supported coordinated care management across the healthcare continuum. Finally, your transformation to a high-performing practice was rewarded by achieving the highest level of PCMH recognition.

Unfortunately, once all that hard work of transforming your practice is over, the tendency is just to take a deep breath and say, “Whooooo, that’s over! Now I can get back to work.” Then, you just let all those processes and policies sit on a shelf and implementation falls by the wayside. Then you get that notice – your renewal date is coming up! Now you’ve got to prove you have kept up the good work these last three years and show how you have continued to transform. If you can’t prove you’ve kept up the model, you can’t get renewed. And if you can’t get renewed, you have to start all over again.

The problem of sustaining transformation is one reason the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) redesigned their new PCMH guidelines for 2017 to have an annual check-in. Much like the proverbial “weigh in” at the doctor’s makes us realize we have gained too much weight, an annual check-in should encourage practices to keep up those transformational policies and processes. Even with the pressure of that annual check-in, you may not realize you’ve dropped the ball until it’s too late.

Don’t let that happen. Check out some of our useful tips to help maintain your status!

  1.   Physicians: Delegate Responsibility– Instead of doing everything yourself, use your team. Team-based care enables you to spend more time with your patients to create a better relationship. Each care team member should be practicing at the top of their license or you aren’t using them effectively and efficiently. Using standing orders releases your team to do tasks under their license that releases you to have more time for patient care. Your team members can order labs or talk to patients about self-managing their diabetes or eating the right foods and exercising to decrease their weight – activities that don’t require a physician’s time.
  2.  Treat the whole person– Remember, what a patient does outside of the practice has a lot more impact on their conditions than what you do for them in 15 minutes! To ensure outcomes improve, you have to know your patients – what’s going on in their lives. Patients with chronic problems like diabetes or hypertension or cardiovascular problems, usually have underlying problems that cause or exacerbate their conditions. You’ve got to dig down through the depths of what the patient is doing on a daily level to really understand how to treat their conditions or how to prevent or effectively treat those conditions.
  3. Maintain integrated and coordinated care– To effectively integrate and coordinate patient care, you must now consider resources throughout the ‘medical neighborhood’. To connect with that neighborhood of specialists, hospitals, urgent care facilities and community resources, you have to connect to share in data and formation. Communication (via EHR) is the key! Visualutions has a solution to help with that. Click Here to find out more.
  4. Follow the ‘Clint Eastwood Medical Process’– You need to know ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ of all practice operations to keep up with your transformation. Visualutions can help with that through its new practice management and clinical quality measurement dashboards. Click Here to find out more.
  5. Maintain Shared Governance– Choose a good team of people from all levels of the practice: administrators, board members, physicians, nurses, front desk staff… even the janitor. Build a model so that everybody has some skin in the game. In that culture, everyone gets to express their concerns and to talk about what they like or don’t like. Everyone needs to know they have ownership of the model. Greater buy-in means sustained transformation and a much higher level of care.
  6. Make sure you have the technical capabilities to work smarter, not harder–FQHC’s aren’t always in a position to hire additional staff. This leads to the current staff being overworked trying to maintain the status. Many practices simply do not have the reporting capabilities to achieve or maintain their PCMH status. Hiring someone to build your reports can get expensive and the finished product may not always meet or keep up with changing PCMH requirements. Work smarter by using the right technology. Let Visualutions assess your business situation and make recommendations on how to streamline your workflows and work processes with the right technology. Click Here to find out more.

The PCMH model of care has proven it is well worth the effort to implement by consistently lowering the cost of healthcare and improving patient outcomes. The process requires patience and determination but ultimately will help you achieve your goals of providing superior patient care and services. Visualutions has the right tools and services that can help you succeed with PCMH. Let us help you achieve your recognition and maintain your transformation to be ready for that annual check-in. Click here to learn more information.