The Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is more than just the latest trend in medical care. It models a refined organization for primary care allowing for better patient experience, improved quality, and staff satisfaction while lowering health care costs. Gaining certification as a PCMH involves meeting a set of standards that differ slightly between the three certifying organizations (the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the Joint Commission, and the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC)) but all of which build on the same concepts.
These concepts—comprehensive care, patient-centered approach, coordinated care, accessible services, quality, and safety—are executed using health literacy tools that make it easier for people to navigate, understand, and use information and services to take care of their health.
Here are some of the most common health literacy tools the standards rely on:
Essential Concepts of the Patient Centered Medical Home
Clearly communicate—not only with the patient but with providers throughout the patient’s network of care
Encourage questions—patients and families can be overwhelmed with information, encouraging their questions can help their success
Follow-up— to answer questions, identify misunderstandings, and monitor treatment plans
Source and use easy-to-understand materials—meet patients and families where they are and use materials that address their needs
Teach-back—more than just having patients repeat back information, making sure that you have explained things in a way that the patients can understand
While attaining PCMH certification does take time and commitment, the use of health literacy tools are an essential element in creating a PCMH certified practice.
Health Literacy Partners is experienced in implementing health literacy tools and sustaining health literacy principles across organizations and practices. Contact us for more information about assessing your practice and instituting health literacy tools in an effort to attain PCMH certification and recognition.