Harvard Mental Health Letter

Ask the doctor: What is a medical home?

Q. What is a medical home? And is it useful for people with mental health problems?

A. A medical home is not a "home" per se, or even a specific location, but rather a coordinated approach to providing health care. The concept originated in primary care in 1967, but has recently been embraced by mental health advocates.

A medical home differs from another concept, known as Hospital at Home, which delivers hospital-level care at home to people with certain chronic illnesses. Instead, a "medical home" is a figurative one, encompassing policies and procedures designed to better coordinate the actions of multiple clinicians, who otherwise may not communicate with one another even though they care for the same patient.

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