IBC and American College of Physicians continue working together to improve primary care

ACP's Medical Home Builder 2.0 helps practices identify ways to offer better patient-centered care

PHILADELPHIA, January 9, 2013 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today announced that it is renewing its collaboration with the American College of Physicians (ACP), offering area practices free, one-year access to the ACP's Medical Home Builder 2.0 (MHB). Last year, more than 100 primary care practices used the tool to analyze how they currently deliver patient care, find ways to be more efficient, and become medical homes. IBC has also engaged ACP to offer six live webinars in 2013 for practices interested in improving the way they deliver care.

"We're excited to offer this valuable tool to our network. As a national leader in promoting patient centered care, it is important to help primary care practices," said Richard Snyder M.D., chief medical officer for Independence Blue Cross. "The health professionals who have used the tool clearly find it advantageous in helping them better organize their practice and identify what they need to do to become recognized as a medical home."

Nearly a third of primary care practices in IBC's network are recognized as patient-centered medical homes, as defined by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Medical homes offer more coordinated and personalized care for patients, especially those with chronic illnesses. An important element of the medical home model is open access scheduling, which allows patients to see their doctors as soon as needed rather than waiting days or longer for an appointment. Medical homes also consist of teams of health care professionals, including care managers and nurse educators, who communicate more regularly with patients, making sure they receive key tests, take medication as directed, and are actively engaged in their own care.

"We've been using Medical Home Builder tool for about a year to help guide conversations with those practices that are transitioning to patient-centered medical homes," said Debra Bernstein, director of Quality and Compliance for Temple Physicians, Inc., which represents more than 24 primary care offices with nearly 50 physicians. "We found that the information and case studies in the tool are very instructional and help us quickly identify where practices need to make changes in order to provide better, more coordinated care."

The MHB helps practices figure out how to best meet the medical home standards established by the NCQA, such as enhancing patient access or ensuring care is coordinated by tracking patients', their tests and the preventive care they are due to receive. Approximately 1,500 practices nationwide have successfully used the MHB since it was introduced in 2009.

Medical Home Builder 2.0 provides practice teams with a robust self-assessment tool to improve patient care, streamline fundamental business operations, and identify and implement key features of the patient-centered medical home. Users become part of an online community of practices committed to improving patient care and identifying office efficiencies. The program offers 24 self-paced modules that address the key attributes and expectations of a patient-centered medical home, improving clinical care, and practice management. Each module includes:

  • Background information: an explanation of key principles, research, and important concepts.
  • Practice Biopsy: a self-assessment to help practices identify opportunities for improvement or validate efforts already underway.
  • Case Study: "How It Works in Practice" describes the efforts of a practice as it works through the findings generated through each module.
  • Resource Library: relevant references, guides, and sample policies in a variety of formats. The resources from each module are combined into a master Resource Library that includes more than 800 sources of information.
  • Reporting functions: a feature to help track progress over-time, identify opportunities for improvement, and compare practices.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

About Independence Blue Cross
Proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we have 3.1 million members nationwide. We are enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we're changing the game, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.