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Maximizing the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by Choosing Words Wisely.
Journal Of The American Board Of Family Medicine
  • Jenna Howard, PhD
  • Rebecca S Etz, PhD
  • J Benjamin Crocker, MD
  • Daniel Skinner, PhD
  • Kelly J Kelleher, MD
  • Karissa A Hahn, MPH
  • William L Miller, MD, MA, Lehigh Valley Health Network
  • Benjamin F Crabtree, PhD
Publication/Presentation Date
BACKGROUND: Culture is transmitted through language and reflects a group's values, yet much of the current language used to describe the new patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a carryover from the traditional, physician-centric model of care. This language creates a subtle yet powerful force that can perpetuate the status quo, despite transformation efforts. This article describes new terminology that some innovative primary care practices are using to support the transformational culture of the PCMH. METHODS: Data come from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded Working Conference for PCMH Innovation 2013, which convened 10 innovative practices and interdisciplinary content experts to discuss innovative practice redesign. Session and interview transcripts were analyzed using a grounded theory approach to identify patterns and explore their significance. RESULTS: Language innovations are used by 5 practices. Carefully selected terms facilitate creative reimagining of traditional roles and spaces through connotations that highlight practice goals. Participants felt that the language used was important for reinforcing substantive changes. CONCLUSIONS: Reworking well-established vernacular requires openness to change. True transformation does not, however, occur through a simple relabeling of old concepts. New terminology must represent values to which practices genuinely aspire, although caution is advised when using language to support cultural and clinical change.
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Citation Information

Howard, J., Etz, R. S., Crocker, J. B., Skinner, D., Kelleher, K. J., Hahn, K. A., & ... Crabtree, B. F. (2016). Maximizing the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by Choosing Words Wisely. Journal Of The American Board Of Family Medicine: JABFM, 29(2), 248-253. doi:10.3122/jabfm.2016.02.150199.