The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative

In 2005, IBM began to question the very foundation of the healthcare we buy and reached a significant conclusion: compared to other industrialized countries, the healthcare "system" in the U.S. fails to deliver comprehensive primary care, partly because of the way that care is financed and well-documented quality issues which contribute to rising costs. Poor quality care accounts for 35 to 45 percent of healthcare expenses and has been estimated to cost employers approximately $2,000 per covered employee annually.

The concept of a medical home was first introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967. At that time, the goal was to provide a specific place for children to receive care. During the past several years, however, this model has been evolving into a system for providing continuous comprehensive care for all age groups. Studies from all over the world have validated the importance of such patient-centric primary care, especially when it is continually updated through electronic medical records, email consultations, e-prescribing, and e-tools, all of which help to enhance clinical decision-making with evidence-based guidelines.

It is believed that such a model can ultimately lead to better medical care for patients and lower overall cost. IBM has been leading the way towards such a shift in healthcare reform, which has now become a national movement that is driving the transformation in healthcare delivery. The goal is the establishment of a "medical home" for every patient, centered on strong patient-physician relationships and comprehensive primary care.

IBM's initiative and work with primary care physician groups led to the formation of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) in 2006. PCPCC membership includes most of the major primary care physician associations, large national employers, health benefits companies, trade associations, profession/affinity groups, academic centers and health care quality improvement associations. In all, the collaborative represents more than 50 million Americans.

In 2007, with IBM's leadership, the PCPCC released the Joint Principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home. They are as follows:

The PCPCC has created an open forum in which healthcare stakeholders can communicate and work together to improve the future of the American medical system. The Collaborative has developed model language for inclusion in health reform proposals to include the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) concept. It also acts as a key source for the continued education of congressional representatives, federal and state governments, and individual practices — promoting the PCMH model as a superior form of health care delivery.

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