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Patient-centered medical home: Empowering patients

“A patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a new concept in medicine,” explains Jennifer Farlow, RN, a registered nurse and health coach at Piedmont Physicians Group. 

The patient-centered medical home is not an actual brick-and-mortar building, but rather a concept with the goal of ensuring all of the patient’s needs are met and their healthcare providers are looking at their health in a holistic manner for optimal care.

How Health Coaches Improve Patient Care

A major component of the PCMH is health coaches - registered nurses who work to empower the patient to take control of his or her own health. Farlow explains that patients can become overwhelmed after leaving their doctor’s office, so health coaches work with them between office visits to help set realistic, motivational goals. “It is really about empowering the patient, educating them, reinforcing what the physician has instructed them to do, and making sure that they have all of their questions answered,” says Farlow.

“As health coaches, we call patients in between their doctor’s appointments to make sure all of their needs have been met, they don’t have any questions and they are taking the right medications.” Health coaches identify resources that are available to patients, including Piedmont resources, insurance companies, the community and online. Coaches also work with pharmacies to help patients find lower-cost alternatives to their medications.

Reconnecting a complex medical system

“The medical system is so disconnected and complex right now,” she says. “Patients go to so many different physicians, get confused and don’t know where to turn. Health coaches are the friendly voices on the other line who are able to answer questions, direct them in the right way and make sure that their health is first and foremost.”

The patient-centered medical home is an extension of the Piedmont Promise, Farlow says. “At Piedmont, we have the Piedmont Promise we live by. That promise is to make you well and keep you well, and live that promise each day in what we do.”

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