New NCQA Standards Take Patient-Centered Medical Homes to the Next Level

June 24, 2011
The Washington, D.C.-based National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released new standards for its Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH)

The Washington, D.C.-based National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) released new standards for its Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program. The new standards call on medical practices to be more patient-centered, and reinforce federal “meaningful use” incentives for primary care practices to adopt health information technology.

The release of NCQA’s new standards—PCMH 2011—marks the debut of the next generation of the NCQA Recognition program that designates high-quality primary care practices as patient-centered medical homes.

Expansion of this program—a 3,400 percent increase in recognized clinicians and a 5,200 percent increase in recognized sites since 2008—makes it NCQA’s fastest-growing service. As of the end of 2010, almost 7,700 clinicians at more than 1,500 sites across America used NCQA standards as a roadmap to become high-quality primary care practices and receive NCQA Recognition as patient-centered medical homes.

PCMH 2011’s emphasis on patient feedback supports what is widely known as the “triple aim” (improving quality, containing costs and enhancing patient experience). NCQA is collaborating with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop a medical home version of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Clinician & Group Survey, a widely used evaluation of patient experience. NCQA expects to release CAHPS for medical homes in the second half of 2011. Starting in January 2012, practices may receive additional NCQA Distinction by voluntarily reporting patient experience data.


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