Use of Patient Centered Medical Home Features Not Related to Patients' Experience of Care

Release Date: June 6, 2012 | By Glenda Fauntleroy, Contributing Writer
Research Source: Health Services Research


  • The patient centered medical home (PCMH) model places practical and philosophical emphasis on patient-centered care.
  • Positive patient reviews of their care experience were not related to adopting some features of the PCMH model.
Follow us on Facebook

Providing patient care using key features of a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a model of health care delivery promoted by major physician groups, may not influence what patients think about the care they receive, reports a new study in Health Services Research.

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a team-based model of primary care that provides coordinated care in order to maximize health outcomes. Past research has indicated that a PCMH can improve patients’ use of preventive care services and decrease hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

This new study is one of the first to research how patients view their experience with physicians whose practices have incorporated some processes integral to the PCMH model.

“We know that many community leaders are pursuing PCMH strategies to improve patient-centeredness in their regions, often in partnership with health plans and government initiatives, so we clearly thought there might be some relationship between PCMH processes and patient experience,” said lead author Grant Martsolf, a doctoral candidate in the department of health policy and administration at Pennsylvania State University.

The researchers used data from three national surveys of 393 physician practices and 1,304 of the practice’s patients. They looked for a relationship between four key PCMH features (having a physician-led practice; offering enhanced access to care; care coordination and integration; and quality and safety) and patient reviews of their care experience.

Researchers found that the use of those four PCMH processes had no significant association with patient reviews of: whether the physician explained things clearly and spends enough time with the patient; treatment goal setting; and out-of-office contact via phone, mail or email.

“Although our study makes an important contribution, I think that the lack of a significant relationship should raise a number of important additional questions about PCMH,” Martsolf said. 

Michael Barr, M.D., senior vice president for Medical Practice, Professionalism & Quality at the American College of Physicians, pointed out that one of the study’s limitations was that “most of the practices were not attempting to become a patient-centered medical home.”

Martsolf noted that impacting patient experience of care may require that a practice adopt the full model of PCMH processes. The researchers also acknowledged that more research is needed to better understand the relationship between patient experience and the various components of the PCMH model over time.

“There is much work to be done to understand the best way to engage patients and families to improve the experience of care, and how to measure whether indeed the experience has improved,” said Barr.  “If constructed properly, early evidence suggests that PCMH practices should improve quality, reduce costs, and enhance patient experiences,” he continued.

TERMS OF USE: This story is protected by copyright. When reproducing any material, including interview excerpts, attribution to the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, is required. While the information provided in this news story is from the latest peer-reviewed research, it is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment recommendations. For medical questions or concerns, please consult a health care provider.

# # #

Reach the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, at [email protected] or (202) 387-2829.

Health Services Research is the official journal of the Academy Health and is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. on behalf of the Health Research and Educational Trust. For information, contact Jennifer Shaw, HSR Business Manager at (312) 422-2646 or [email protected] HSR is available online at

Martsolf GR, Alexander J, et al. (2012). The patient centered medical home and patient experience. Health Services Research.

Tags for this article:
Patient Engagement   Evidence-Based Medicine   Inside Healthcare  

Comments on this article
Please note: CFAH reserves the right to moderate all comments posted to the Health Behavior News Service. Any inappropriate postings will be removed.

Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson says
June 8, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Medical homes face a public awareness problem. The solution? Scenarios that work.

Seamickdee says
July 31, 2013 at 11:53 PM

As the PCMH coordinator for a large multi-specialty group in the throws of emplementation, this article is discouraging to say the least. This is an awful lot of work to not receive a payoff (in the form of pt satisfaction surveys) in the end.