There’s a new/old take on the importance of primary care doctors to obtaining the best quality medical care. It’s called the medical home, and it doesn’t mean house calls, but it does mean that the patient has a medical “home” — a team of providers, led by a primary care doctor, who coordinate the patient’s care and know everything that is going on with specialists, testing and followup.
This is new because it’s being rejuvenated as a way to cut costs and get higher quality care; it’s old because the term was coined by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967. Jane Brody reports on this in her personal health column in the New York Times.
The medical home concept is supported by all the medical societies who represent primary care doctors. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, insurance reimbursements have been slanted toward performance of tests and not the painstaking work of listening to the patient, thinking through the patient’s problem, and recommending a course of care.
Getting a top primary care doctor is one of the “Necessary Nine” steps for quality care outlined in my book: “The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care — and Avoiding the Worst.”