USA Today op-ed: Patients need to be involved with team based care

My most recent column was published this morning in USA Today: As health reform unfolds, involve the patients.

Regular readers of KevinMD.com are up to date with Accountable Care Organizations and Patient Centered Medical Homes, both of which are crucial parts of the Affordable Care Act.

However, patient input has largely not been sought, and without their acceptance, these reforms are bound to fail:

The success of team-based initiatives, however, will rely on the patients themselves. And here’s the problem: Their input has largely not been sought.

Last year, the American Academy of Family Physicians released results from the first practices that were transformed into the team-based “medical homes.” Despite findings showing better quality of care, patients were unhappy with the change. Physician-columnist Pauline Chen noted in the New York Times that many patients felt “displaced as they saw the old one-to-one doctor-patient interactions replaced with … one-to-four relationships involving not only the doctor but also a whole host of other providers.”

According to Terry McGeeney, a primary care physician who led the medical home project, “The Achilles heel of all of this is a lack of patient understanding and engagement.” Indeed, someone forgot to inform patients how their health care would change.

Enjoy the piece.

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