The patient-centered medical home: an ethical analysis of principles and practice
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), with its focus on patient-centered care, holds promise as a way to reinvigorate the primary care of patients and as a necessary component of health care reform. While its tenets have been the subject of review, the ethical dimensions of the PCMH have not been fully explored. Consideration of the ethical foundations for the core principles of the PCMH can and should be part of the debate concerning its merits. The PCMH can align with the principles of medical ethics and potentially strengthen the patient-physician relationship and aspects of health care that patients value. Patient choice and these ethical considerations are central and at least as important as the economic and practical arguments in support of the PCMH, if not more so. Further, the ethical principles that support key concepts of the PCMH have implications for the design and implementation of the PCMH. This paper explores the PCMH in light of core principles of ethics and professionalism, with an emphasis both on how the concept of the PCMH may reinforce core ethical principles of medical practice and on further implications of these principles.
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