Research shows that the Patient Centered Model of Care has potential to improve access to quality healthcare. An important question is whether the model of care has potential to support community health improvement. This question is especially important in the safety net setting, where community providers are expected to deliver substantial value in return for community investment. Safety net providers that are responsive to community needs are better positioned to improve community health while also generating and sustaining resources.
A Patient Centered Model of Care practice can demonstrate its commitment to community health improvement by directly addressing community health needs. For example, the practice could:
- Use data to identify community health needs;
- Provide services that are intended to address identified community health needs;
- Cultivate strategic partnerships to extend and optimize community health services;
- Implement quality strategies that reflect community health needs; and
- Evaluate the impact of the PCMH practice on community health objectives.
A Patient Centered Model of Care practice that has these characteristics might be called a ‘Community Centered Health Home.’ The Prevention Institute has offered a definition of a Community-Centered Health Home as follows:
The community-centered health home provides high quality health care services while also applying diagnostic and critical thinking skills to the underlying factors that shape patterns of injury and illness. By strategically engaging in efforts to improve community environments, CCHHs can improve the health and safety of their patient population, improve health equity, and reduce the need for medical treatment.
The Prevention Institute presents the Community Centered Health Home as a potential model for federally qualified health centers. However, the Community Centered Health Home is more of a strategic concept than a detailed operating model, and it can certainly be adapted to other organizational settings. The Community Centered Health Home can also be a vital part of a Patient-Centered Medical Neighborhood.