The Importance of a Medical Home

Studies have shown that children who move schools frequently are 35% more likely to fail a grade. When a child moves schools, they have to rebuild familiarity, trust, and meaningful relationships. If a child has a learning disability or a condition that calls for additional assistance, repeat moves can be even more difficult. Although a move is not always avoidable, the stability of staying in the same school system for as long as possible is undoubtedly ideal.

The same applies to your child’s health care provider. Maintaining a consistent relationship with your child’s pediatrician beginning in the baby and toddler years to the school-age years and through adolescence is vital to a child’s overall health and well being.

When looking for a pediatric practice to build a long-term relationship with, it is important to find a practice that provides care for all aspects of children’s physical and mental health. One way to ensure this quality of care is to find a practice, like ours, that believes in the importance of a Medical Home. The Medical Home – also known as Patient or Family Centered Medical Home – is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care that facilitates partnerships between patients, clinicians, medical staff, subspecialists, and families. It is a medical practice organized to produce higher quality care and improved cost efficiency. To learn more about what a Medical Home entails, read this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), What is a Medical Home?

Building a Medical Home creates a solid, long-term connection with your child’s pediatrician and has many benefits for you and your child:

Building and maintaining trust 
It is normal for children to be apprehensive about trusting adults. It takes some time and patience for them to build this trust, especially with their doctors. This trust is important for your child so that they feel comfortable being honest with their doctor about how they are feeling and what is bothering them.

Understanding your child’s behavior and needs
Once you and your child have built a familiar relationship and rapport with their pediatrician, health conditions and abnormal behaviors will be more easily identifiable. Their primary pediatrician will also know what treatments are most likely to be the most effective when your child does encounter a health concern.

Saving money and time 
Building a long-term provider-patient relationship allows your child’s pediatrician to know your child’s specific health needs. Ultimately, this saves families both time and money through increased efficiency and effectiveness of your pediatrician.

Tracking your child’s medical history
If your child changes pediatricians repeatedly, they not only have to build a new relationship but also an understanding of their medical needs. Even if records are transferred, the one-on-one provider-patient interaction is missing. By staying with a healthcare provider long term, your family can be sure that your child’s medical records are accurate and complete.

Creating a plan for the whole family
At most pediatric offices, your child can see their pediatrician up until the age of 21. Creating that long-term relationship for the whole family will allow a sense of safety and comfort over time. Maintaining a consistent connection with a pediatrician can help with all challenges and health needs over your children’s youth, adolescence, and early adulthood.

For additional information about the importance of keeping up with routine screenings and maintaining a Medical Home during the COVID-19 pandemic check out this article from the US Department of Health and Human Services in which Dr. Dina of our sister practice, South Riding Pediatrics, is quoted.