FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, May 29, 2008
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
WASHINGTON, D.C. – American women want a health care system in which they and their families can conveniently obtain preventive services, see their personal physicians the day they become sick, and receive coordinated follow-up care if they require hospitalization or care from other physicians.That is not what they usually encounter when they seek health care for themselves, their children, spouses or adult relatives, according to a poll released today by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the AAFP, obtained responses from 1,193 American women who said they were the primary health care decision makers for themselves and/or their family members. Questions focused on their past experiences with the health care system and what attributes are most important to them.Among the poll’s findings: nearly 60 percent of respondents said they face challenges in obtaining health care for themselves and/or family members. And when they do receive care, they enter a system of confusing communications, duplicative paperwork and tests, and, at times, contradictory recommendations from different doctors. The survey found that when receiving healthcare for themselves and/or their family members:
“These findings point to some of the most important cost-drivers in America’s health care system,” said Jim King, M.D., president of the AAFP. “A system that is difficult to navigate and relies on patients to deliver tests and communicate diagnoses leads to fragmented care, duplication of tests and sometimes unnecessary procedures – all of which steadily drive up the cost of health care for the nation as a whole.”The survey asked women who are primary health care decision makers for themselves and/or their family members about the importance of certain aspects of the health care system.
“These are all elements of a patient-centered medical home,” King said. “This concept is taking hold across the country. Family physicians are at the forefront in developing this model of personalized, top quality health care that every patient deserves.”One such physician is Melissa Gerdes, M.D., whose Whitehouse, Texas, practice is participating in TransforMED, a two-year, $8 million practice redesign initiative of the AAFP, in which 34 medical practices nationwide are transforming their medical practices based on the medical home model.“When people envision an ideal health care environment, they generally are thinking of what we call the patient-centered medical home,” said Gerdes. “Family physicians are working to see that this concept becomes reality for everyone.”A patient-centered medical home is a model of health care in which patients have an ongoing relationship with a personal physician who helps the patient navigate the complex and confusing health care system by coordinating and facilitating services with other qualified medical professionals. As such, the medical home becomes the “home base” for preventive and chronic care, and the first stop for sick care. The medical home model employs a team-based approach to care that provides patients with:
“A patient-centered medical home meets patients’ needs for convenience and ensures the kind of comprehensive, quality care they deserve,” King said. “Family physicians are moving forward with a vision, a purpose and a plan to make a patient-centered medical home a reality for everyone in the United States.”An executive summary of the AAFP poll results is available online at www.aafp.org/media/fixhealthcare.
MethodologyThis survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service on behalf of AAFP between March 20 and 24, 2008 among 1,270 U.S. adult women aged 18 years and older, of whom 1,193 are responsible for health care decisions for themselves and/or their family members. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 115,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).
About Harris InteractiveHarris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
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May 29, 2008