The Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH)

Medical HomeBy Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk Founder & Senior Editor

The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services is promoting the concept of a Primary Care Medical Home, also referred to as a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) or Healthcare Home. It’s described as a new business model that holds promise for improving health care in America by transforming how primary care is organized and delivered, but the terms Medical Home and Healthcare Home are confusing. That’s why I responded with this concern and suggestion:

When putting an adjective in front of the noun, HOME, one usually refers to a residence, habitat, abode, domicile, dwelling or refuge. As a noun, HOME means

    1. “the place where one lives” such as a house, apartment, assisted living facility or nursing home;
    2. “a natural environment” such as habitat, haunt or stamping ground; or
    3. “an institution” such as a retirement or nursing home, prisons, etc..

Because “Medical HOME” refers instead to a starting place, it causes confusion with other terms, such as Home Healthcare, Home Security, Home Improvement, Home Office, Home Town, Home Building, Home Renovation, Retirement Home, Nursing Home, Foster Home, Healthy Home, Digital Home, Smart Home, Green Home, Model Home, Homeless, and Homemaker.

What would it take to use a different term: something like “Patient Centered Medical ANCHOR,” ANNEX, BASE, BEDROCK, CENTER, CORE, CORNERSTONE, ESSENCE, NUCLEUS, PILLAR, PIVOT, ORIGIN, HEART, ROOT, SPRINGBOARD, TRIBUTARY, HOMEPAGE, OR HOME BASE? Or you could even use something like MEDHome or MEDCottage.

I know there’s a lot invested already, but as a consumer advocate and Digital Home consultant who now runs an online community about Home Healthcare, and I’m very concerned that continued use of the term “Medical Home” will confuse consumers and possibly become a disservice to society.

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