Medical Home Model Could Curb Kids’ Trips to Doctor’s Office, ED
Children who receive coordinated care through so-called medical homes had fewer physician visits for illness and trips to the emergency department, and are more likely to practice health-promoting behaviors than other children, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, Reuters reports.
Such children also were more likely to have had at least one preventive care physician visit.
For the study, researchers defined a medical home as a primary care physician office offering easily accessible, family-centered coordinated care services.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine examined survey data for more than 70,000 children, including about 40,000 children who received care through a medical home.
The study found that 21 out of every 100 kids without a medical home had been to the ED, compared with 16 out of every 100 children with a medical home. In addition, children with a medical home practiced more healthy behaviors, such as wearing a helmet and watching less TV.
Study author Webb Long said, "[B]roadly speaking, we view the decrease in outpatient visits and emergency department visits as a result of consulting through the medical home," adding, "I would encourage pediatric practices to do everything they can to become a medical home for their patients."
The concept of coordinating patient care through medical homes has gained popularity in recent years as a means of reducing costs for people with chronic illnesses. According to Long, fewer pediatric ED and outpatient visits ultimately could help rein in health care spending (Grens, Reuters, 12/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.