PCMH Definition & Measurement

The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative describes the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) as a model of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety. It has become a widely accepted model for how primary care should be organized and delivered throughout the health care system. It calls for team care that is built on trust and communication and promotes accessibility, compassion, and transparency. Its success is enhanced by health information technology and by smarter ways to pay for care.

Applying the PCMH model provides “accessible, continuous, comprehensive, and coordinated care that is delivered in the context of family and community,” and furthers patient-centered care.1

The PCMH incorporates dimensions of patient-centered care presented by the Institute of Medicine and the Chronic Care Model.2 Collaborative management (i.e., patient-centered team care) supports self-care while effective medical, preventive, and health maintenance interventions take place.

The definition and measurement of the PCMH is evolving based on what is being learned in many ongoing evaluations of demonstration projects and medical practices.3 Many practices are seeking to be recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), URAC (an organization that accredits many types of health care organizations), and The Joint Commission. In addition to the fundamental tenets of primary care(including access, comprehensiveness, integration, and relationship), the PCMH involves new ways of organizing and payment reforms.3,4

The American College of Physicians’ Practice Advisor is an online tool designed to help practices improve patient care, organization, and workflow and become a PCMH.