Monday, February 27, 2012

Medical Home a Hot Topic at AHIP Institute by Matt Adamson

On Thursday at AHIP Institute I had the pleasure of presenting a medical home case study with my colleague Elaine Olzawski, senior director of health care management at BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma. We were incredibly impressed with the turnout (standing room only!!) and the discussion and interaction that ensued. I think it was a clear indication of the way interest in the medical home has just exploded in recent months and a sign that the concept is and will continue to impact the future of healthcare in the United States.

My approach to the session was to provide something of an overview of the medical home model, while Elaine shared some real-life experiences from the pilot program our organizations are working on in Oklahoma. That really resonated with our attendees and prompted some interesting discussion about the differences between commercial versus government-run medical homes and the role that pharmacy plays in the execution of the concept. Elaine and I emphasized the importance of IT as the backbone of a successful medical home and how it can enable the communication, decision support, and outcomes tracking and reporting requirements necessary for success.

Interestingly, it wasn’t just at our presentation that I encountered so much interest in the medical home. There was a distinct buzz about it throughout the conference in general as healthcare organizations gear up to meet the medical home mandates in the recently passed reform law. I got the sense, however, that the concept would be just as popular on its own because of its promise for improving care and controlling costs. Either way, it’s apparent the medical home boom is already beginning and, as we at MEDecision tried to make clear at AHIP, there’s no need for organizations to wait. Those that partner with a well-positioned, forward-thinking technology provider can begin implementing the concept now and be well ahead of the game by the time the reform-driven changes take effect.

I left AHIP with a strong sense that healthcare is definitely on the verge of change and that the medical home, mandated or not, is going to be a key part of it. The coming months may be some of the most transformative healthcare has ever seen. I know I’ll be keeping a close eye on things as they unfold.