Family medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on providing continuing, comprehensive health care for the individual and family. When most see continuing care, what usually comes to mind is hospital readmission and the ongoing Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program but this is not the case. With family medicine, the focus is on providing care in all areas to all ages so one physician can attend to the medical needs of an entire family on a continuous basis and is the years go by.
The Future of Family Medicine
Family medicine is constantly being improved on. It is the goal is to continuously redesign and improve upon family medicine. There is a new model of family medicine that’s focused on improving the concept of relationship-centered care. A relationship-centered medical home serves is a focal point where all individuals in a family (regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status) participate in and benefit from family medicine and healthcare.
The term medical home probably sounds new to you and you’re wondering what it is. A medical home is where patients receive a basket of services that are accessible, accountable, comprehensive, integrated, patient-centered, safe, scientifically valid and satisfying to both patients and their physicians. In a medical home, they use technologies, that enhance diagnosis and treatment if a variety of conditions that are commonly treated by family physicians.
Besides providing treatment n the patient-facing side, also in a medical home, business plans and reimbursement models will be developed to enable the reengineered practices of family physicians to thrive as personal medical homes, and resources will be developed to help patients make informed decisions about choosing a personal medical home. A financially self-sustaining national resource will be implemented to provide practices with ongoing support in the transition to the New Model of family medicine.
You’ve seen me write about health records, electronic health records and electronic data warehouse and big data over and over again. This is because of their relevance to the healthcare industry cannot be overemphasized. Electronic health records will help support family medicine and new model family medicine implements and help to reduce hospital readmission rates.
The EHR will enhance and integrate communication, diagnosis, and treatment; measurement of processes and results; as well as promote ongoing, healing relationships between family physicians and their patients.
Training Family Physicians
Physicians who specialize in family medicine are trained in a variety of fields. Family medicine education includes training in maternity care, the care of hospitalized patients, community and population health, and culturally effective and proficient care. The field of family medicine requires, is with most medical fields, lifelong learning. This is why the discipline of family medicine try to provide lifelong and comprehensive learning programs for physicians.
Family medicine residency programs and departments also incorporate continuing professional development into their curricula and will initiate and model the support process for lifelong learning and maintenance of certification. Physicians also go through self-assessment and an improvement plan that supports a succession of career stages. Any new knowledge that is gained in this field should be swiftly shared and disseminated within the community.
Departments of family medicine can then engage in highly collaborative research that produces new knowledge about the origins of disease and illness, how health is gained and lost, and how the provision of care can be improved. These activities will contribute to the enhancement of the science of family medicine. Because the field is so broad is it encompasses all ages and practically all areas of medicine, there has to be a community effort to foster learning and knowledge sharing within the community and among physicians.
Patient Safety Measures and Family Medicine
Quality and Patient Safety Measures seek to increase safety in family medicine and in the healthcare industry. As the US healthcare system continues to grow, more patients face the possible challenges and impact of poor quality healthcare and outdated safety practices. More patients die annually from hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) than people in auto accidents.
This disturbing fact requires immediate insight into how the state of US healthcare needs to change. However, healthcare entities and organizations must take a few moments to understand what quality and safety measures are, how they impact the financial state of healthcare, how clinical analytics can identify key weaknesses in the healthcare system, and how the Centers For Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is taking action to improve quality and patient safety measures.
Family Medicine Needs More Diversity
There needs to be a more diverse range of family doctors. This include, more women family doctors, more people of color and minorities and just a more diverse demographic in general. Is with many STEMM careers, family medicine has been dominated by white males which makes it quite homogenous and so therefore not exploring the full range of what the field could be doing for population health. It also limits the geographic spread of family doctors.
A family doctor is more likely to prefer to stay in his community and so if all family doctors are white males, then there you have it, it means large communities are seriously lacking when it comes to the physician to patient or physician to family ratio. Efforts are being made towards promoting a sufficiently diverse family medicine workforce.
A comprehensive family medicine career development program and other strategies will be implemented to recruit and train a culturally diverse family physician workforce that meets the needs of the evolving U.S. population for integrated health care for whole people, families, and communities. Departments of family medicine will continue to develop, implement, disseminate and evaluate best practices in expanding student interest in the specialty.