What is PCMH?

Defining the Patient Centered Medical Home


As a consumer – and a patient – you can’t watch or read a news story about healthcare in America and not hear about the concept of “Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH).” But what does it really mean to you?

Maybe surprisingly, the concept of PCMH has been around for decades. In fact, North Carolina’s Medicaid managed care program, Community Care of North Carolina, is the oldest and possibly the most successful medical home initiative in the country, saving the state nearly one billion dollars since its inception in 1999.

Raleigh Medical Group

More recently, representatives from the healthcare industry including the American Association of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American College of Physicians (among others) have taken the initiative a step further creating a list of joint principles designed to enable physicians, employers, health plans, and patients to collaborate to create a more effective and efficient model of health care delivery.

Key Principles of a Patient Centered Medical Home

So what’s in it for patients? Some of the key tenants of a PCMH organization like Key Physicians include:

  • Access to a “personal physician,” where each patient has an ongoing relationship with a physician (typically your primary care physician, or PCP) who will provide continuous and comprehensive care.
  • Development of a physician-directed medical practice, where your PCP leads a team of individuals at the practice who collectively take responsibility for your ongoing care.
  • Coordinated care across all elements of a patient’s health care system and community, facilitated by many means to help ensure that you get the necessary care when and where you need it.
  • Consumer engagement components including:  patients actively participating in decision making, physicians partnering with patients and the patient’s family, and patients and families participating in quality improvement activities at the practice level.
  • Enhanced access to care is available through systems such as open scheduling, expanded hours and new options for communication between patients, their personal physician, and practice staff.

Talk to your Key Physician to learn more about the value of patient centered care.