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Oregon setting the trend for medical home movement

Photo Credit: COURTESTY: COATES KOKES - A desire for a more engaging patient-to-provider relationship has resulted in medical homes where patients may be able to visit their physician, pharmacy, counselor and dietician all at one location.You know the painstaking chore of taking your child to the doctor, or even just making it there yourself? Your days are already filled with spreadsheets and spilled coffee, muddy paw prints and picking up kids from soccer practice. Doctors’ offices are often closed on the weekends, and who has time to make it during lunch or pull the kids out of school?

Of course after the visit, while speeding off to your next appointment across the city, don’t forget to stop at the pharmacy for cold medicine and lozenges before you head back to work.

“Medical homes” are the new option we’ve all been searching for to make things a little easier. Well, a lot easier.

The new model for patient-centered care, which unites a variety of healthcare experts and readily accessible resources under one roof, is sweeping across the nation, and Portland is no exception; the medical home model has caught on and they can now be found throughout the city.

According to industry experts, they are the new standard for primary care among larger hospitals and care providers in the metro area, and throughout Oregon, as people seek a more engaging patient-to-provider experience that helps educate people on managing their health.

So what makes medical homes so appealing and why are they the new standard?

“Medical homes offer easier access to a physician and a convenient one-stop visit for patients seeking medical attention,” said Dr. Leonard Bertheau, Physician D.O., of Adventist Medical Group. “Depending on each medical home, a patient could potentially visit his or her physician, pharmacy, counselor and dietician all in one location, allowing patient care to be tailored to fit each person’s unique medical needs and schedule.”

Among other major benefits, from on-site screenings and same-day lab tests, to financial resource planning for health care needs, the medical home model offers extended hours, allowing patients to visit the doctor or nurse practitioner after work or on the weekends. With the new school year on the horizon, this is especially an incentive for busy parents when their son or daughter comes home with a cold or the flu.

During the past few years, more than 500 certified medical homes have opened in Oregon. Hospitals throughout the state, such as Adventist Medical Center in Portland, are paving the way for other states looking to adopt the medical home model and drop the outdated, inefficient primary care system.

Adventist operates 10 certified medical homes within the four-county metro area, each receiving a Tier-3 status, the highest rating available for medical homes.

Opening its first location in October 2012, Adventist is at the forefront of the medical home movement, part of an effort to better the overall health of the community through education, early prevention, wellness and management of chronic conditions.

Among other hospitals implementing the updated primary care model, as each of its locations offers on-site, certified full-service counseling to patients, Adventist’s medical home structure is particularly unique .

“For the first time ever we’re seeing primary care and counseling services coming together to be offered to patients, all under one roof,” said Michelle Krummenacker, Clinical Director for In-House Counseling in Clackamas. “This ease of access and readily available resources allow us to provide better overall care to people living in our community.”

If help is needed beyond the scope of medical home services, each patient’s team of skilled providers and care managers will offer transition support and referrals to outside specialists for more serious health needs.

While it may not be for everyone, medical homes are designed with the patient in mind — people of all ages and medical histories looking to grow a better relationship with their primary care doctor and be more knowledgeable about their own health. If you’re sick of long wait-times and inconvenient work hours, and you’re searching for a more educational and well-rounded primary care experience, now may be the time to investigate whether a medical home is the right solution for you and your family.