By Carolyn McCoy, MPH
Senior Policy Manager, AMCHP
Title V programs play a key role in states as the locus for MCH activities. One of key activities within this role is working toward ensuring universal access to a medical home. States even report annually on the number of children and youth with special health care needs who have a medical home.
Within a medical home, one of the key functions is effective communication. Health information technology (HIT) is one tool to improve effective communication, measure quality of services delivered, and enhance coordination among providers. To this end, the National Center for Medical Home Implementation (NCMHI) created two useful guides with promising practices and resources for practitioners at all levels of implementation of HIT systems. The National Center for Medical Home Implementation is a cooperative agreement between the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The mission of NCMHI is, "to work in cooperation with federal agencies, particularly the MCHB, and other partners and stakeholders to ensure that all children and youth, including children with special needs, have access to a medical home."
The first Spotlight on Child Health Issues: Health Information Technology & Medical Home provides an in-depth review of various topics ranging from "What is HIT?" to "How does HIT Interact with Medical Home?" as well as providing promising practices for states.
The second tool, Improving the Medical Home Through the Use of Health Information Technology, is a fact sheet for health care professionals that summarizes the key points of how HIT assists the medical home in delivering quality care by supporting information functions and effective communication.
Technology is not the end-all for a well-functioning medical home. However, as the health care world moves away from paper-based record keeping and into the virtual world and thus integration between community-based and clinical providers becomes more continuous, understanding the positive benefits of HIT is important for those in the field who are working hard every day to ensure access to medical homes for our MCH populations.