Your doctor’s office may be one of the first places you experience the impact of health care reform in this country.  That’s because primary care practices, specifically family medicine, are among the first places to embrace the changes necessary for that transformation. The Family Medicine Residency Program at University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine is one of the nine Colorado family medicine residencies leading the country’s efforts to create patient-centered medical homes (PCMH).  The PCMH aims to improve the quality of health care and reduce costs by providing patients with a comprehensive primary care team who emphasize disease prevention and wellness.

The innovative initiative integrates the PCMH model of care into the training curricula and medical practices of the Family Medicine Residency Program.  The model focuses on improving the coordination of patient care, chronic disease management, use of electronic medical records and increasing proactive medicine to prevent illness and promote good health.

“Family medicine residents are strongly influenced in their future practice patterns and behaviors by their training,” said Perry Dickinson, MD, professor in the Department of Family Medicine from the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine and project director for the Colorado Family Medicine Residency Patient-Centered Medical Home project.  “By integrating the patient-centered medical home model of care into the training of family physicians, our residents will be well-equipped to lead implementation of medical homes in community clinics and private practices throughout the state and country upon graduation.”

The Family Medicine Residency Program and its affiliated A. F. Williams Family Medicine Center are participating in the nation’s largest collaborative PCMH initiative to transform residency training.  The three-year project will incorporate the PCMH model of care into Colorado’s nine family medicine residency programs, which are each part of competing health care systems.  The residencies will work together to develop curriculum, share best practices and serve as a model for residency programs around the country,  The Department of Family Medicine faculty is helping facilitate the success of the large-scale program.

“As our country and state continues to grapple with shortages in primary care providers, this project, along with the other patient-centered medical home programs in the state, will serve Colorado well in attracting primary care physicians.  It will also enhance existing successful recruiting programs for bringing high quality graduating medical students to Colorado to complete their family medicine residency training,” said Dickinson.

The consortium of health care organizations involved with the Colorado Family Medicine Residency Patient-Centered Medical Home program also includes the Colorado Clinical Guidelines Collaborative, Colorado Association of Family Medicine Residencies, and Colorado Institute of Family Medicine. The $2.8 million program is funded by the Colorado Health Foundation.

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