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Primary care and family physicians argue for new, person-centered focus in patient-centered medical homes

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As those in health care increasingly consider patient-centered medical homes an improvement for health care, two professors from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Drs. James W. Mold and F. Daniel Duffy, argue that patient-centered medical homes do not address the underlying problem facing our health system: a disease-oriented health model. They argue that for medical homes to deliver true person-centered care, physicians and their teams must fundamentally change the way they think about care by focusing more directly on the outcomes important to each patient, rather than on disease management alone.

The authors recommend two complementary approaches to encourage this paradigm shift: narrative medicine and goal-oriented care. Narrative medicine emphasizes the importance of patients’ personal stories, encouraging clinicians to absorb, interpret and respond to them throughout the care journey. Simultaneously, a goal-oriented care approach encourages clinicians to co-create plans of care that allow each individual patient to live a meaningful life, optimize personal growth, and experience a good death. While transitioning primary care practices into patient-centered medical homes has been an important step forward, Mold and Duffy argue that the next step is to transform patient-centered medical homes into truly person-centered models of care.

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