TransforMED offers free assessment tool
Measure your practice’s medical home fitness level
By AAFP News Staff
Five minutes of time invested in answering a few “yes” or “no” questions could help physicians move their practices closer to the patient-centered medical home model the Academy has embraced.
Twelve pertinent questions form the centerpiece of a free, online assessment tool from TransforMED, a practice redesign initiative affiliated with the AAFP. TransforMED is charged with helping physicians transform their practices to incorporate elements of the medical home model.
The new tool—TMED Medical Home Vitals—was designed to help physicians “take the pulse” of their practices and self-determine how their practices score in comparison with key features of the medical home model, said Marly McMillen, executive director of TransforMED.
No database is attached to the tool, and TransforMED isn’t tracking users or their responses. “It’s strictly an educational tool to help practices learn more about themselves,” said McMillen.
Elaine Skoch, R.N., TransforMED’s practice metrics manager, headed up development of the assessment tool and accompanying questions. According to her, the questions are designed to help physicians see what elements of a medical home they already may have incorporated into their practices, such as:
- access to care, including same-day appointments, so-called e-visits and group visits;
- participation in quality-improvement reporting;
- delivery of team-based care that includes adherence to evidence-based treatment guidelines;
- utilization of information systems, such as electronic health records, e-prescribing and e-scheduling; and
- development of processes to generate and receive patient feedback.
Based on the number of positive responses a physician gives, he or she receives a “score” ranging from rudimentary to advanced. The grade indicates the practice’s level of advancement toward implementing basic medical home concepts.
Although all the questions are relevant, Skoch said an affirmative answer to question number nine is absolutely imperative to the success of practices trying to move forward with change.
That question asks whether practice leaders have developed a strategic vision and shared that vision with all staff members. In simple terms, said Skoch, that means, “Have you shown your staff ‘the map’ so they know where you want to go with the practice? The people working with you must know the final destination so they can own part of the journey to get there.”
McMillen called the 12-question assessment a "teaser" of what's to come; a comprehensive assessment tool currently is under development by TransforMED. That tool—the Medical Home IQ—is scheduled for release by the end of the first quarter of this year. Find it at www.transformed.com/Vitals.
McMillen encouraged physicians to tune in and pay attention. “There's a lot of national buzz about medical homes,” she said. It’s likely that future pay-for-performance programs will require physicians to provide those medical home elements to patients.
Source: AAFP News Now, Jan. 16, 2008. © 2008 American Academy of Family Physicians.