Some might liken becoming a patient in the American health care system to embarking on a journey on the Los Angeles freeways. LA freeways, if you have had the occasion to drive them, are a labyrinth network of intersecting and parallel roads built over time with no clear design, no center, and no ultimate destination, forcing the driver to engage in fits and starts of smooth riding or traffic jams with no clear rationale and no ultimate guidance.
We have similarly burdened the American patient population with maneuvering through a multi-layered, often incomprehensible, Kalfkan maze of disconnected health care pathways and roadblocks.
Recognizing this discoordination, in 2002, ProHealth Physicians, the largest primary care medical group in the state, founded the Connecticut Center of Primary Care in order to bring to light and hopefully to improve this system. The solution inherent in CCPC’s creation was rooted in the concept that primary care physicians, practicing preventive rather than reactive medicine, dealing with both individual patients and patient populations in aggregate, were the natural vehicles on which to help navigate the care of our patients.
Over the five subsequent years, while we have endured some of the trials of a start-up, non-profit foundation, we have kept our focus and our activities geared toward three goals: the improvement of primary care practice through education and systems research, the translation of those improvements into routine practice, and the dissemination of those improvements into the health care system as a whole.
Much of what we have been endeavoring over those years can be summed up in the burgeoning concept of a MEDICAL HOME—a construct that is gaining increasing traction both in the medical community and in public policy. That “Home” may be envisioned as a combination traffic officer—whose purpose is to direct patients down the appropriate pathway, a tourist information center—in which all of a patient’s medical information resides, and a highway rest stop—where a patient knows he can comfortably turn when lost or confused.
Our efforts over the next five years will be directed toward making that concept of a MEDICAL HOME—a guide for our travel weary patients—a reality.
Jonathan Rosen MD, FAAP