Meaningful Use and Medical Home Functionality in Primary Care Practice

Meaningful Use and Medical Home Functionality in Primary Care Practice

Published: Nov 02, 2020
Publisher: Health Affairs, vol. 39, no. 11

Diane R. Rittenhouse

James A. Wiley

Lars E. Peterson

Lawrence P. Casalino

Robert L. Phillips

To improve health care quality and decrease costs, both the public and private sectors continue to make substantial investments in the transformation of primary care. Central to these efforts is the patient-centered medical home model (PCMH) and the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology (IT). We used 2018 national family medicine data to provide a perspective on the implementation of PCMH and health IT elements in a variety of US physician practices. We found that 95 percent of family medicine–affiliated practices used electronic health records (EHRs) in 2018, but there was wide variation in whether those EHRs met meaningful-use criteria. Federally qualified health centers and military clinics were significantly more likely than other settings to have adopted PCMH elements. Adoption of PCMH elements was lowest among independently owned practices, which make up one-third of the primary care delivery system. Our findings suggest that achieving PCMH transformation across all types of practices will require a coordinated approach that aligns strong financial incentives with tailored technical assistance, an approach similar both to that used in federally qualified health centers over the past decade and to that used to drive EHR adoption a decade ago.

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