Monday, July 18, 2011

Voices of Primary Care: What is a Medical Home?

Guest post by ANONYMOUS, MD

I have heard of the "Nursing Home" and I am not sure most of us aspire to getting there…

We all carry an image of our own HOMES: it is often idealized in phrases such as “Home-sweet-home” or “There is no place like home” or "Home is where the hearth is”. We even talk about being “HomeSick”.

Do any of these even remotely resonate with “THE Medical Home”?

Now granted, a “homey” doctor’s office may be a worthy goal. Making our patients feel “at home” with proper hospitality and kindness, a relaxing environment, maybe even the smell of baking are all likely to be improvements over our current obsession with best business practices, efficiency and evidence. To the extent that these characteristics become the defining feature of “The Medical Home” we might be on to something.

But "The Medical Home" instead seems to suggest that the doctor’s office is the place where health resides.

Isn’t the intention of the medical home movement really an effort to reassert the importance of solid, comprehensive primary care built on the ongoing relationship between the patient and his or her primary care physician? If so, why not say so?  What would we call that? How about good Primary Care?

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