On Jan. 17, 2013, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) launched a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) content expert credential program. This program will test and certify consultants who have demonstrated knowledge of the NCQA PCMH model. This announcement is good news for medical practices seeking to transform into medical homes. Practices often turn to consultants to help with the process of PCMH transformation, as this requires a total redesign of the care delivery process. Practices pursuing PCMH recognition must implement workflow changes and put in place new policies and processes to adhere with PCMH standards. A growing number of PCMH consultants offer services to help medical practices undergo PCMH transformation, and this certification will help medical practices gauge the qualifications of those consultants.
According to NCQA, the certification aims to help the medical home model spread by bringing measurement and transparency to the marketplace of consultants. In order to earn this certification, consultants will need to complete two educational seminars totaling 2.5 days and pass a comprehensive examination, which has 150 multiple choice questions and a three-hour time limit. NCQA will list certified PCMH content experts on its website, so practices can easily see which consultants are certified.
If your EHR partner supports PCMH transformation by offering certified PCMH content experts, they may be an excellent resource for your practice. Unlike third-party consultants, vendor consultants should know exactly how to configure your EHR and implement workflows necessary for achievement of PCMH recognition. Depending on your vendor's experience in the PCMH arena, their consultants may be able to provide you access to full correlating reports, sample policies and procedures, and step-by-step best-practice workflows. They may also be able to offer lessons learned from other clients who have earned PCMH recognition using their EHR and technology solutions, such as patient portals. While third-party consultants can merely offer assistance in navigating PCMH standards, vendor consultants can readily teach you how to most efficiently use your EHR to implement the NCQA medical home model and improve care team workflow efficiency. This type of system optimization can generate substantial return on investment beyond the goal at hand by increasing operational efficiency, closing usage gaps, reducing risk and liability, enhancing revenue opportunities, and improving quality of care.