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Study Finds Value in Patient-Centered Medical Home

PCMH principles linked to higher rates of preventive services in primary care practices

TUESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Principles of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) in primary care practices are associated with the use of preventive services, with relationship-centered factors appearing particularly important, according to research published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Jeanne M. Ferrante, M.D., of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, and colleagues analyzed data collected in 2006 and 2007 from 24 primary care practices in a family medicine research network. The authors assessed records from 568 patients (mean age, 64 years) to assess if they were up-to-date on preventive services, and then created a score reflecting PCMH principles.

The researchers found that higher global PCMH scores were linked to preventive services for patients. Specific factors associated with receiving more preventive services included more visits in the previous two years, seeing the same physician, having a well-visit in the previous five years, and having a referral system to connect patients with community programs for preventive counseling.

"In conclusion, PCMH principles are associated with higher rates of preventive services delivery in community primary care practices, with the high-touch relationship-centered principles more highly correlated than information technology capabilities. These findings suggest that PCMH demonstration projects and tools that measure PCMH principles should have greater emphasis on these key primary care attributes that have strong evidence in improving health care and health outcomes," the authors write.

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