By Bobbie LeBlanc, PCMH Program Director
It’s National Health IT Week, and around the country, organizations like ours are joining forces to celebrate the continued advancement of health IT tools like electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges (HIEs).

But I’d like to take that celebration one step further by recognizing and applauding the thousands of health care providers – both here in Louisiana and in other states – who have taken the use of those tools to the next level through patient-centered medical home (PCMH) transformation.

Building A Better System Of Care

The PCMH model is built on a physician-led, team-based, whole person approach to health care. It’s about coordinating all aspects of the patient’s health care needs at all stages of life and across all health care settings, and yes, it’s a model that’s facilitated by health IT to ensure that patients get the care they need when and where they need it.

In an ideal world, the PCMH model – which, numerous studies have proven, yields improved outcomes, higher quality and lower costs - would receive as much attention and be just as incentivized as health IT adoption.

Unfortunately, we haven’t quite reached that point yet – and really, that subject alone is enough to inspire another blog post entirely – and so we must settle for heaping accolades on those providers who have achieved both PCMH and health IT implementation.

Beyond Meaningful Use

The Meaningful Use program has done much to drive quality improvements in health care. Its key objectives for EHR implementation – data capture and sharing, advanced clinical processes and improved outcomes – are perfectly aligned with PCMH transformation.

Yet the PCMH model goes well beyond meaningful use of EHRs. Not only can PCMH providers run reports to meet the requirements of meaningful use, they also use those reports to better track and manage patient care.

PCMH providers know that patient-centric care and health IT go hand-in-hand, and it is these providers who deserve our recognition during National Health IT Week.

Confetti, Balloons and Cheers

If we could gather all the PCMH providers with health IT infrastructures in one giant room, we’d shower them with confetti, release thousands of balloons and hail them with a hearty round of, “For you’re a very good doctor.”

But since we can’t do that, we will say this to those providers: Thank you.

Thank you for your dedication to your patients. Thank you for your openness to innovative new care models and technology. Thank you for your willingness to learn, adapt and grow. Thank you for being part of the effort to improve health care and health outcomes.

Thank you.