Synthesis Of Research On Patient-Centered Medical Homes Brings Systematic Differences Into Relief
Published in: Health Affairs, v. 36, no. 3, March 2017, p. 500-508. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1235
Posted on RAND.org on March 28, 2017
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model emphasizes comprehensive, coordinated, patient-centered care, with the goals of reducing spending and improving quality. To evaluate the impact of PCMH initiatives on utilization, cost, and quality, we conducted a meta-analysis of methodologically standardized findings from evaluations of eleven major PCMH initiatives. There was significant heterogeneity across individual evaluations in many outcomes. Across evaluations, PCMH initiatives were not associated with changes in the majority of outcomes studied, including primary care, emergency department, and inpatient visits and four quality measures. The initiatives were associated with a 1.5 percent reduction in the use of specialty visits and a 1.2 percent increase in cervical cancer screening among all patients, and a 4.2 percent reduction in total spending (excluding pharmacy spending) and a 1.4 percent increase in breast cancer screening among higher-morbidity patients. These associations were significant. Identification of the components of PCMHs likely to improve outcomes is critical to decisions about investing resources in primary care.