What is a Medical Home?
John Rooney, MD, is the hospitalist director at Banner Gateway Medical Center.
Question: My primary care physician recently referred to his office as my medical home. What does this mean?
Answer: Your primary care physician is following a model of caring for his or her patients called a medical home. The medical home concept uses a team approach of coordinating care between the primary care physician, specialist physicians, other providers such as therapists and home health care, and community resources. It also creates a central location where all your medical history is collected and available whenever it is needed for your healthcare.
The primary care physician serves as the main organizer of your medical home. One major benefit of a medical home is that you receive care from a physician who knows you and understands your medical history. Your primary care physician oversees your care, coordinates specialists who may treat your various medical conditions, and develops a relationship with you to understand various factors that might be important to your health.
For example, if you see your primary care physician for an illness that is severe or requires the care of a specialist, your primary care physician can admit you to a hospital for further care or provide you with a referral. For non-emergent medical situations, this is much better than a visit to an urgent care center or emergency room where you are cared for by a physician unfamiliar with you. Of course, emergency rooms play an important role in your health care and should be used for true medical emergencies.
When choosing a primary care physician, select an office that is conveniently located with hours that work with your schedule. Ask the office if they follow the Medical Home model of care. If you need of a primary care physician, contact your insurance company for a list of physicians who accept your plan or call Banner Health’s physician referral line at (602) 230-CARE.