The concept of a “medical home” puts the new approach in perspective. Proponents believe that by giving the patient a portal to access his or her medical records and the ability to see tests results in real-time, schedule visits and ask questions of the medical team electronically, the PCMH will go a long way toward making the patient an active participant in his or her healthcare, rather than a passive observer.
But the idea has another side, too: It’s where the medical providers live. It becomes a central location, whether physical or digital, with the primary care physician as captain of the ship and a crew that can include physician specialists, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists and social workers coordinated to deliver not just better medical care but to change the course of healthcare from sick care to preventative care.
A team approach to healthcare has been proven to significantly reduce emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, which usually occur when there are gaps in care or a breakdown of communications, Grundy said.
The DoD and VA mission is to eliminate those holes.
What lies ahead? According to Grundy, the goal will be the use of even more sophisticated technologies like predictive analytics, which analyze and interpret patient data to catch negative health outcomes before they occur. IBM’s Watson, the Big Blue computer that beat human competitors in Jeopardy, is targeting healthcare in its ultimate deployment as just such a predictive analytics tool, Grundy said.