IBM backs effort to revolutionize healthcare system

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IBM plans to put substantial resources behind a newly formed consortium dubbed the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC), dedicated to advancing a new primary-care model called the Patient-Centered Medical Home. IBM originally proposed the idea for the consortium in early 2006, which to-date represents employers of some 50 million people across the United States as well as physician groups representing some 330,000 medical doctors.

PCPCC members see the Patient-Centered Medical Home model as able to transform how primary care is organized and financed. The model can affect such transformation because it works community-by-community to:

  • Improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivered while helping to control the unsustainable, rising costs;
  • Engage patients and their families in positive ongoing relationships with their personal physicians. Each patient is assigned one Primary Care Physician (PCP) who provides a single access point and complete coordination of care;
  • Empower community-based health networks organized and operated by local physicians, hospitals, and public health and social services departments;
  • Encourage the use of electronic patient health records and web portals to connect patients to their own data; and
  • Support better compensation of all participating PCPs.

“In the U.S. today, we face major problems both in healthcare quality and costs, and the failures we are experiencing are grounded in our primary care system – precisely where we must focus our efforts to revitalize healthcare delivery,” said Paul Grundy, MD, IBM’s director of healthcare technology and strategic initiatives. “The strength of the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model is that it places the patient at the center of the system and insures that investment in healthcare delivery begins at the patient-centered, primary care level.  It gives cause for true optimism around the opportunities we have to improve and redesign healthcare delivery.”