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PCMH Care Linked to Better Medication Adherence

National Study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

WASHINGTON, DC—A new national study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows care received in a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is linked to better medication adherence.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted the study with funding from CVS. It involved patients in NCQA-Recognized PCMHs who started common medications for chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia) between 2011 and 2013. Researchers compared their medication use for 12 months against other patients in the same primary care service areas. They estimated that patients in NCQA-Recognized medical homes had levels of adherence that were an average of 2%–3% higher than patients receiving care in other practices (slightly higher for patients initiating medications for diabetes and hypertension).

How well chronically ill patients follow a treatment plan is a question of growing concern to clinicians and payers. Poor medication adherence is linked to poor outcome and high health care spending. As a result, medication adherence is now viewed as a key measure of quality of care by major organizations such as CMS and the NQF, and is used to determine financial performance incentives for providers.

More than 10% of all US primary care practices now meet the requirements for being considered a patient-centered medical home (PCMH)—a population-based model of practice that aims to improve health care quality and patient engagement. Support for the PCMH model stems from evidence suggesting that it results in improved patient satisfaction, higher quality care and lower costs.

PCMHs focus on enhancing and establishing patient-provider relationships, patient engagement and quality of care, primarily through improved technology and care coordination. To earn NCQA Recognition, medical homes are encouraged to focus on managing chronic diseases, notably diabetes and hypertension.

Study findings have significant implications for providers, health plans and policymakers, who must consider the best potential practices for patients.

See the full report here.

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Matt Brock
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Cindy Peña
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