Monday, March 19, 2012


The importance of a medical home

You might have heard of the phrase “medical home.” But what does it really mean?

In short, it is developing a long lasting and meaningful relationship with a healthcare provider, a relationship that can help you stay healthy and manage any existing conditions you may have.

People without medical homes many times end up in emergency rooms, which can be too late, and costly.

In a patient-centered medical home, your care is coordinated with your doctor, who may help refer you to specialists when needed. Because your doctor knows your complete medical history, you can trust that you are in good hands and he or she can help guide you through the healthcare system when needed — including hospitals, physical therapy and home health agencies.

Technology is also a key part of a medical home. Electronic medical records are being developed to create an easier information exchange between physician offices, hospitals and even patients themselves. This increases efficiency and, in the end, improves overall health.

A lot has changed in healthcare. Previously, hospitals only cared for people when they came to the institution. Now, some of the most important healthcare occurs outside the walls of the hospital. Preventative health, aided by medical homes, is a key driver of this.

Linda Lacerte, MD, is a primary care provider at the Montville Backus Health Center. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Lacerte or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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