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    Everyone wins when physicians put patients first

    Editor's Note: Welcome to Medical Economics' blog section which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP, MBI, a family physician practicing in La Quinta, California, who is also past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He serves as the president and board chair of Family Medicine for America’s Health. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Medical Economics or UBM Medica.

     

    Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP, MBIIt certainly doesn’t sound like a radical notion, but the idea of putting patients first is creating something of a revolution in healthcare that is lowering costs while delivering high-quality care to millions of Americans.

     

    Further reading: Hospitals are shifting to a retail model—will doctors follow?

     

    Leading the revolution are primary care physicians under a model that makes them responsible for creating and heading a “medical home” for patients—a place where they can seek treatment from primary care physicians and other professionals, and coordinate any needed care with sub-specialists and hospitals. The idea is to enhance preventive care, improve disease management and patient outcomes while cutting the system’s inefficiencies.

    The approach is already paying dividends.

    In Oregon, a groundbreaking study released in October found that the state’s Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program saved its healthcare system an estimated $240 million between 2012 and 2014 and predicted that the growth of the program would lead to even greater savings in the future.  

    By putting the focus on primary care, state health officials say, Oregon is making huge strides toward improving the health of its citizens while at the same time lowering costs. According to the study commissioned by the Oregon Health Authority, for every $1 increase in primary care expenditures under the PCPCH model, the state’s healthcare system realizes an average savings of $13.

     

    Related: 7 ways physicians can take control of uncompensated time

     

    Another popular model that’s putting patients first is the Accountable Care Organization (ACO)—a group of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who voluntarily work together to give high-quality care to their Medicare patients. While different in a number of respects, Medicare ACOs share the same goals as the PCPCH model—improving healthcare services and the quality of care for patients while keeping costs down.

    Next: Trump needs to take a look at what is working well

    Glen Stream, MD, FAAFP, MBI
    Dr. Glen Stream, a family physician practicing in La Quinta, California, is past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. ...

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