April 14, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Ask the Doctor at Saint John’s: The “Personal Medical Home”:

Q. What is a “Personal Medical Home?

A. By Bernard Katz, M.D., family medicine specialist at Saint John’s Health Center.

The “personal medical home” is a new concept that every patient deserves a “personal physician,” and access to quality, coordinated care across a variety of multi-specialties. The “personal medical home” is patient centered – the patient is the decision maker, the physician’s job is to help the patient navigate through the intricate decision making process.

The idea was originated in 1967 by the American Academy of Pediatrics so parents would have a comprehensive medical record for their children. The focus was on an immunization record kept in the pediatrician’s office, which would be available to parents as the children grew up and moved from school to school.

The American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Physicians (the organization for internal medicine specialists) came together and formed the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative to further develop the concept of the “personal medical home.”

At the heart of the “personal medical home” is the primary care physician. A primary care physician is a specialist in pediatrics, general internal medicine, family medicine or gynecology. These physicians have gone through training after medical school to provide a wide range of services – including preventive medicine as well as acute and chronic disease management.

The primary care physician coordinates the patient’s care and maintains the records – either physically or electronically – in their office. The records may include records from other subspecialists, home health agencies, senior support organizations and the patient’s family.

To set up a “personal medical home’ establish a relationship with a primary care physician who practices evidence based medicine. Such practitioners look at outcomes and studies and if they order tests, they do so judiciously with an eye towards what they would use the results for as far as providing quality care to the patient. The goal is maximization of outcomes so that the patient gets high quality care.

Physicians who are part of this system submit themselves to voluntary quality measurements by outside organizations such as the National Committee of Quality Assurance and hospital peer review committees.

A “personal medical home” differs from managed care which originated in the 1980’s. Managed care was intended as a way for primary care physicians to manage patients’ care but it evolved more toward cost containment and away from quality care.

The Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative has prepared information for insurance companies and large employers so that the “personal medical home” is an option provided to employees when they select medical plans.

For more information on forming your own “personal medical home” visit the American Academy of Family Physicians website at www.aafp.org or the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative website at www.pcpcc.net.

Bernard Katz, M.D. is a family medicine specialist at Saint John’s Health Center. For more information about Dr. Katz and other Saint John’s services please call

(310) 829-8990 or visit the website at www.stjohns.org. For a physician referral or a second opinion, please call 1-888-ASK-SJHC.

Want to learn about a variety of health and lifestyle issues? Watch “Coffee Break,” a weekly, live television show broadcast Wednesdays at 2 – 3 p.m. on Santa Monica City TV Channel 16 and LA City Channel 36.

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