Transforming Primary Care in New York Through Patient-Centered Medical Homes: Findings From Qualitative Research

J Prim Care Community Health. 2022 Jan-Dec:13:21501319221112588. doi: 10.1177/21501319221112588.


Background: The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, an important component of healthcare transformation in the United States, is an approach to primary care delivery with the goal of improving population health and the patient care experience while reducing costs. PCMH research most often focuses on system level indicators including healthcare use and cost; descriptions of patient and provider experience with PCMH are relatively sparse and commonly limited in scope. This study, part of a mixed-methods evaluation of a multi-year New York State initiative to refine and expand the PCMH model, describes patient and provider experience with New York State PCMH and its key components.

Methods: The qualitative component of the evaluation included focus groups with patients of PCMH practices in 5 New York State counties (n = 9 groups and 67 participants) and interviews with providers and practice administrators at New York State PCMH practices (n = 9 interviews with 10 participants). Through these focus groups and interviews, we elicited first-person descriptions of experiences with, as well as perspectives on, key components of the New York State PCMH model, including accessibility, expanded use of electronic health records, integration of behavioral health care, and care coordination.

Results: There was evident progress and some satisfaction with the PCMH model, particularly regarding integrated behavioral health and, to some extent, expanded use of electronic health records. There was less evident progress with respect to improved access and reasonable wait times, which caused patients to continue to use urgent care or the emergency department as substitutes for primary care.

Conclusions: It is critical to understand the strengths and limitations of the PCMH model, so as to continue to improve upon and promote it. Strengths of the model were evident to participants in this study; however, challenges were also described. It is important to note that these challenges are difficult to separate from wider healthcare system issues, including inadequate incentives for value-based care, and carry implications for PCMH and other models of healthcare delivery.

Keywords: patient perspectives; patient-centered medical home; primary care; provider perspectives; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • New York
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States