PCMHs (patient-centered medical houses) are primary care models that aim to reduce costs while improving the quality of healthcare. PCMH emphasizes improving patient access, coordination of care among different specialists and providers and placing patients at the heart of the team. PCMHs are successful at improving outcomes for patients and decreasing costs in urban communities, but the effectiveness of PCMHs in rural areas is not clear.
In response to the incentives provided by the Affordable Care Act, many providers of health care have adopted PCMHs. The rural character of some communities presents unique challenges for the implementation of PCMHs. In rural areas, there are often fewer primary care providers available and fewer resources to support health infrastructure. The PCMH model is characterized by its coordinated approach and the patient-centered care it provides.
There are still reasons for optimism about PCMHs’ potential to improve rural care despite these challenges. The use of telehealth can, for instance, help to eliminate barriers to care as well as allow more efficient coordination across specialties and providers. The PCMH model’s emphasis on wellness and prevention can also help to reduce chronic diseases in rural areas, where chronic disease rates are often higher than in urban areas.
Conclusion: While PCMHs are a great option to improve access to healthcare and outcomes for patients in rural areas, they also present unique challenges. To overcome rural community challenges, health care providers, government officials, and local leaders need to work together. They must ensure all patients receive high-quality coordinated and patient-centered healthcare.