Becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home: What's in it for our patients?

3/22/2011, 7:34 p.m.
Paulette Shaw Querner, RN, MBA Corporate Vice President, Community Health Centers, ...

Ongoing, timely communication is one of the most important elements of a successful Medical Home. Physicians and nurse practitioners at Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, Neponset Health Center and Mid Upper Cape Community Health Center use health information technology in communicating patient information, collecting and analyzing patient data and for tracking and coordinating care. Implementation of Electronic Health Records at the three health centers has greatly enhanced their ability to provide timely information to patients and caregivers, develop patient treatment plans and reduce the chance for medical errors across the health system.   

To ensure access to care for our patients, the Harbor Health Community Health Centers offer extended evening and weekend hours, while we are working toward open scheduling and centralized call centers. Implementing open access allows the patient to schedule an appointment faster, and in many cases the same day of their call or within a few days thereafter, which helps to eliminate long waiting lines, unnecessary visits to the emergency room, improves patient care and makes for happier patients. Our Geiger Gibson Community Health Center already offers open access scheduling and is leading the way in piloting a call center.

At Harbor Health we pride ourselves in delivering culturally and linguistically appropriate care from the time our patients walk through our doors. Based on ongoing market research and the implementation of Electronic Health Records we are now in a better position to identify the ethnicity and linguistic needs of a patient. The Neponset Health Center is staffed with Vietnamese medical interpreters, case managers and nursing staff responding to the needs of the growing Vietnamese population in Dorchester and the South Shore communities. Most of our Geiger Gibson Community Health Center providers and support staff speak Spanish, while the Mid Upper Cape Community Health Center single-handedly has captured the Brazilian Portuguese speaking immigrants living and working at Cape Cod.

Every year we administer patient satisfaction questionnaires and focus on areas that need improvement. For the past several years, we received high scores in patient satisfaction including access, treating patients with respect, listening to their needs and providing them with necessary information and resources for a healthier living.

Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, Mid Upper Cape Community Health Center and Neponset Health Center are divisions of Harbor Health Services, Inc. For more information, visit www.hhsi.us or call 617-533-2212.

Physician Practice Connections® -Patient-Centered Medical Home ™ is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance.