What is a Medical Home?
You may have heard of this increasingly used phrase. A “Medical Home” refers to medical care in which a patient has one main physician practice that maintains the comprehensive medical records and helps the patient coordinate with additional healthcare providers as appropriate.
When a child has a primary physician, a full medical history can be taken into account at every interaction. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “believes that the medical care of infants, children and adolescents ideally should be accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective.” (AAP Policy Statement Pediatrics Vol. 110, No. 1 July 2002) This care is best realized through a medical home.
Why is a Medical Home Important?
The AAP recognizes that medical care delivered in a medical home, by physicians that build a partnership with families, allows for the best care for children.
In contrast, the medical care provided through a patchwork of providers including emergency departments, walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities is more costly, often less effective and in certain instances can lead to misdiagnoses and improper medical care. It is vital for the complete health history to be collated in one source. We strongly believe that parents and patients coordinating with our physicians is the best way to ensure the safest and most effective healthcare.
NSP is Your Medical Home
North Suburban Pediatrics (NSP) is proud to be your child’s medical home. We provide comprehensive medical care and advice for you and your children from birth through their college years. This allows us to develop a relationship with your family, so that we understand your family’s health history. In this way, we are able to provide guidance and recommendations tailored to each individual child and help you make decisions based on all the relevant information.
The yearly well visit is the opportunity for your child’s physician to review your child’s health record. It also allows us to step back and look at the whole picture of your child’s health, with a review of recent visits and thinking ahead to upcoming milestones.
Because of this relationship, our physicians are able to spot emerging trends or patterns in your child’s health. For example, a child with several sick visits each spring for cough may be recognized as having spring allergies or a child with several pneumonias may need to be evaluated for underlying asthma.
In addition, we are able to monitor for recurrent illnesses that may need specialist referrals for further management. This can be seen in the children who get recurrent ear infections or tonsil infections who may need to see the Ear Nose Throat specialist.
We have also been able to make earlier diagnoses in families with more rare medical conditions. For instance, we have diagnosed an infant with a genetic blood disorder because we knew their sibling had the same condition. This early diagnosis leads to early specialist referral and better management.
When a child is seen at multiple different health care providers these opportunities for improved health care are lost.
The annual well visit also allows us to provide preventative care such as immunizations and routine screening tests and gives us the chance to address any concerns that you may have. By completing your child’s well visit, we are then able to refill any medications and fill out school, camp and sports forms for the year.
There are additional benefits to having your own doctor within a medical home. We are here for our patients as a trusted confidant. We support families through healthy times and when illnesses and accidents occur. Our physicians also act as an advocate for your child – helping coordinate care with the most relevant specialists, referring to the most qualified developmental services, and advocating within the school or social work system to ensure your child reaches their potential.
Additionally, we are your most trusted resource for parenting advice and developmental questions because we know your children. We provide advice on topics as diverse as breastfeeding, night terrors, school concerns, adolescent issues.
All of us at NSP consider it a privilege to provide the best medical care for your children. Please remember to schedule your annual visits to ensure this and don’t hesitate to call us when your child is ill. We are grateful for the opportunity for care for them, and we are honored to be their medical home.
Written by: Dr. Rachel Elwell