What is Quality Improvement and Why is it Important for Primary Care Practice?

Quality Improvement consists of systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in health care services and the health status of targeted patient groups. Pennsylvania health centers engage in:

  • quality improvement (QI) activities that are critical to achieving the triple (quadruple) aim of improving the health of the population
  • enhancing patient experiences and outcomes
  • reducing the cost of care
  • improving provider experience

Community Health Centers continually work to improve quality of care patient outcomes.

An example of a prominent approach to redesigning primary care is the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) or health home. The definition of PCMH/Health Home is "a patient-centered philosophy that drives primary care excellence. The medical home is best described as a model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-center, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on qaulity and safety." Pennsylvania's health centers are transforming their practices and many are already recognized patient-centered medical homes/health homes through organziations such as the National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA), The Joint Commission (TJC), and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH)

The patient centered medical home (PCMH) may be described as a model or philosophy of the primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible and focused on quality and safety. It has become a widely accepted model for how primary care should be organized and delivered throughout the health care system. PCMH is "a model for achieving primary care excellence so that care is received in the right place, at the right time, and in the manner that best suits a patient's needs." (Patient-Centered Priamry Care Collaborative)

The medical home encopasses five functions and attributes:

  • Comprehensive care
  • Patient-centered
  • Care coordination across health system
  • Quality and safety focused
  • Enhanced access to care

The HRSA Accrediation and Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition Initiative supports recognition for health centers that meet national quality standards. HRSA contracts with three organizations to provide technical assistance and training for their respective reconition processes.

HRSA may support certain fees for participating health centers. The fees covered may be associated with intial accrediation and re-accrediation for ambulatory health care accreditation and PCMH recognition, initial, renewal, and add-on surveys.



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