New URAC White Paper Explains the Medical Home from the Consumer Perspective

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URAC, the leading health care accreditation and education organization, has released its latest report, The Medical Home: A Consumer’s Perspective. The report examines this model of coordinated primary care, outlining the potentially dramatic improvements it could make to health and wellness, and provides consumers with the helpful information they need to manage their doctors’ office visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 50 percent of all Americans are living with at least one chronic disease. This white paper reveals that three cornerstone elements of the medical home model – comprehensive care, patient-centeredness, and extended office hours – correlate with a longer lifespan, and a more effective method of treating these chronic diseases.

Based on the latest research, it is clear that a patient-centered approach to primary care benefits all. By taking a proactive approach to keeping all patients as healthy as they can be, data indicates a significant reduction in unnecessary emergency department visits, and avoidable hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations – translating to lowered morbidity, mortality, lost days of productivity, and cost savings for our health care system at large.

URAC released its Patient Centered Health Care Home (PCHCH) program in 2011 to meet the needs of this increasingly popular health care delivery option. A traditional medical home model of care is a collaborative, team-oriented approach to the way in which everyday consumers interact with health care providers and the health care system as a whole. The URAC PCHCH model is different from this traditional model in that it puts patients, family members, and personal caregivers at the center of all decisions concerning the patient’s health and wellness, and recognizes the unique needs of patients and their families. The program focuses on health care that is not limited to disease, and works to provide comprehensive and individualized access to physical health, behavioral health, and supportive community and social services, ensuring patients receive the right care in the right setting at the right time. This program recognizes that patients are consumers, and that the health care team and health plan are their partners, helping patients to safely navigate the health care system.

“URAC developed its Patient Centered Health Care Home program to educate and guide health care practices as they transform into truly patient-centered health care homes,” said Christine G. Leyden, URAC Chief Accreditation Officer. “This white paper helps us in promoting patients as consumers – educating them so that they can actively participate in their own health care while managing their health care needs in collaboration with their physicians and health care practitioners.”

“As part of our mission to empower consumers to actively engage in their health care, URAC developed this white paper as a resource for consumers to become more involved in their personal health” said Michelle Phipps, URAC Director of Clinical Education. “The paper even includes a list of questions to ask before and during a doctor’s office visit that many patients would not ordinarily ask, as well as a tip sheet for patients to ask about medication reconciliation.”

To obtain a copy of the URAC white paper, The Medical Home: A Consumer’s Perspective, visit www.urac.org. For more information about URAC’s PCHCH Programs please call 202-216-9010, email businessdevelopment@urac.org, or visit to www.urac.org/pchch/.

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is well-known as a leader in promoting health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.

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