The virtual health home is
the “other half” of the patient-centered medical home. Some might
say it’s the better half. Though related in purpose, the two “homes”
differ dramatically in perspective. While both place the patient at
the center of care:
- In the medical
home the perspective is that of health professionals who are looking
and managing in toward the patient.
- In the virtual
health home the patient is looking and managing out from the center.
The difference is astounding.
Leslie Kelly Hall and I have
authored a white paper outlining the “comforts” of the virtual health
home. We hope you will read it and give us your thoughts.
A virtual health home is a
Web-place of integrated applications selected by the consumer to better
manage all aspects of his or her health and health care. The virtual
health home (VHH) brings together in one inter-related place the patient’s
view of the EMR and information prescriptions for decision support,
self-management, and wellness promotion tools. Also included are health-related
social network connections and a wide variety of other health-enhancing
and health care management applications created by a broad variety of
stakeholders across the health care and wellness spectrum. The consumer-owned,
consumer-designed and consumer assembled virtual health home provides
one-stop shopping for information, tools, and support for every aspect
of a person’s health. A Call to Action
Most of the information prescription
content, technology, and programs already exist in leading organizations
and are well-positioned for mainstream application. In spite of that,
an increased commitment to take action in three specific areas could
greatly speed the needed coordination that a virtual health home would
- Every hospital,
hospital group, or RHIO coalition should plan to either deliver or interact
with the virtual health home of each patient in their service area.
- Major IT companies,
such as Microsoft and Google, that provide secure management of individual
health records should lead or align with the development of the virtual
health home and ensure that the interoperability standards are met.
- CMS and health plan
policymakers should decree that every eligible person covered in their
plans receives a virtual health home at no expense to them.
The virtual health home, in
combination with the patient-centered medical home, will significantly
fill the debilitating gap that currently exists in care coordination