Patient-centered medical home improves Seattle healthcare system's delivery of services

June 15, 2011

At Seattle's Group Health Cooperative, patient management is a team affair. Primary care physicians, clinical pharmacists, nurses, and assistants all work together to meet the needs of patients through a patient-centered medical home approach.

Key Points

At Seattle's Group Health Cooperative, patient management is a team affair.

Primary care physicians, clinical pharmacists, nurses, and assistants all work together to meet the needs of patients through a patient-centered medical home approach. Structured around a thorough electronic medical records system, frequent patient communication, and regular medical team collaboration, this approach has been found to improve patient satisfaction and reduce clinician burnout rates and healthcare costs.

Pharmacists in the lineup

In this process of ongoing patient contact, clinical pharmacists have played an important role.

As a pharmacist, Thams regularly reviews patient charts and assesses the medications patients are taking. If patients should be receiving additional medications or might benefit from switching drugs, pharmacists at Group Health are able to e-mail the patients' physician to discuss the possible changes.

"They do a lot of review of the high-risk medicines that patients are taking and they'll e-mail us if they think that a patient needs to be [taken] off a medication, if it's too high risk. Or they'll recommend that we consider changing the medication," Mayer said.