This idea of a “medical home” — a place where everybody knows your name and your medical records are complete — is nothing new. In fact, that term has been used in medical and government circles for well over a decade
The medical home is best described as a model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety. It has become a widely accepted model for how primary care should be organized and delivered throughout the health care system. As a philosophy of health care delivery the medical home model encourages providers and care teams to meet patients where they are, from the most simple to the most complex conditions. It is a place where patients are treated with respect, dignity, and compassion, and enable strong and trusting relationships with providers and staff. Above all, the medical home is not a final destination instead, it is a model for achieving primary care excellence so that care is received in the right place, at the right time, and in the manner that best suits a patient's needs.
A health care home is not a building, house, or hospital, but rather an approach to providing comprehensive primary care. A health care home represents an approach to pediatric care in which a trusted health care provider partners with the family to establish regular ongoing care. Through this partnership, the primary health care professional can help the family and patient access and coordinate specialty care, other health care services, educational services, in and out of home care, family support, and other public and private community services that are important to the overall health of the child and family. Providing a health care home means addressing the medical and non-medical needs of the child and family.
Those services include in a health care home are:
Is It OK to Leave Home?
Obviously, the ER does not meet those objectives, nor is it designed to do so. As its name implies, the ER is for emergencies only — when your child experiences a life-threatening illness or injury and can’t wait for a trip to the doctor’s office.
But what about walk-in health care centers, including the new breed of in-store clinics offered by major drugstore chains? Is it ever acceptable to go to a walk-in for relatively minor health complaints like earaches and sore throats?
Certainly, these clinics can be helpful, especially if you are away from home or an illness occurs after hours. But just like the ER, they don’t meet the definition of a medical home, and for the health of your child, you should think twice about using them routinely.
The need for an ongoing source of health care for all children has been identified as a priority for child health policy reform at the national and local level. Over the next decade, with the collaboration of families, insurers, employers, government, medical educators, and other components of the health care system, the quality of life can be improved for all children through the care provided in a medical (health care) home.