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Primary Care Medical Home Philosophy

Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) is a philosophy of care based on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) definition of a medical home, which includes these core functions and attributes:

  • Patient-centered care: Relationship-based care focuses on the whole person and understanding and respecting each patient’s needs, culture, values and preferences.
  • Comprehensive care: A team of providers (may include physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, mental health workers, social workers and others) work to meet each patient’s physical and mental health care needs, including prevention and wellness, acute care and chronic care.
  • Superb access to care: Patients have access to services with shorter waiting times for urgent needs, enhanced in-person hours, around the clock telephone or electronic access to members of the care team and alternative methods of communication.
  • Systems-based approach to quality and safety: The organization uses evidence-based medicine and clinical decision support tools, engages in performance measurement and improvement, measures and responds to patient experiences and satisfaction, practices population health management, and publicly shares robust quality and safety data and improvement activities.
  • Coordinated care: Care is coordinated across the broader health care system, including specialty care and the provision of community and support services. This is particularly critical during transitions between sites of care.

Taking this high level approach to care can help ensure your patients get what they need, when they need it — and help your organization improve the patient experience while reducing costs.

Help Patients Take an Active Role in Their Care

Achieving PCMH certification shows your patients and their families you’re committed to putting them first. PCMH certification focuses on:

  • Educating your patients and encouraging them to self-manage their condition or disease.
  • Allowing your patients to take an active and decision-making role in their care.
  • Giving your patients increased access to their primary care clinician and interdisciplinary care team, including after-hour phone access.
  • Tracking and coordinating your patients’ care with health information technology, such as email, video chat, mobile apps and electronic resources.

PCMH Certification Eligibility

The Joint Commission introduced PCMH certification to various health care settings on a rolling basis over the past several years:

  • 2011: PCMH certification for accredited ambulatory care organizations
  • 2013: PCMH certification for accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals
  • 2014: Behavioral Health Home (BHH) certification for accredited behavioral health care programs

PCMH Resources

Find below resources for assessment tools, Q&A guide, and the list of organizations that have achieved PCMH Certification. For additional questions, contact your account executive.