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Building Your 'Medical Home' with a Primary Care Provider

Liz Shapiro, FNP: Building Your Medical Home with a Primary Care Provider
Liz Shapiro, FNP, a family nurse practitioner at John C. Lincoln's Dearing Family Medicine.

What comes to mind when you hear the term "medical home?" A house filled with medical equipment, a residential facility, a home health care service?

Current terms used in health care refer to a "medical home" as none of the above. A medical home is a unique relationship between patients and their primary care provider who works in partnership with them to manage and coordinate all their health care needs over a long period of time.

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HealthBeat cover - July - August 2012

This article appears in the July - August 2012 edition of HealthBeat, John C. Lincoln's free health newsletter.

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As we age, chronic health conditions become more common. Developing a medical home can help reduce the risks associated with chronic health conditions and lead to overall better patient outcomes.

"One provider who sees a patient on a regular basis can evaluate the patient's overall situation and provide alternatives, rather than just trying to claim a single health issue," said Gary Rada, MD, of John C. Lincoln's Saguaro Family Practice.

Building a medical home is the joint responsibility of the patient and the provider. Patients should do their research to find the type of provider that works best for them. When you meet with them, come prepared with a full background of medical and family history, and then remain with that provider over a long period of time.

"There is a lot more to a patient visit after I establish a relationship with them," Dr. Rada said. "Not only do I address their current situation, I take into consideration their past symptoms and conditions, family medical history and other information learned throughout their care for a proper medical recommendation.

"Providers who establish great medical homes know their patients, their families and their history. They work with patients as partners and use a proactive team approach, while preventing duplication of services."

The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Health Care

Nurse practitioners deliver a unique blend of medical care by incorporating personalized health education, counseling, and teaching patients about healthy lifestyle choices.

"We distinguish ourselves from other health care providers by focusing on the whole person when treating specific health problems," said Liz Shapiro, FNP, a family nurse practitioner at John C. Lincoln's Dearing Family Medicine.

Nurse practitioners have an advanced graduate degree and are licensed and board-certified through national organizations. They can work in a variety of settings including cardiology, emergency, primary care and others.

Make John C. Lincoln Physician Network your medical home. Find a primary care physician or nurse practitioner in your neighborhood at JCL.com/practices.

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