A to Z’s of Early Childhood
The science of child development and learning
M is for Medical Home
Developing a Medical Home
A medical home is an approach to pediatric care that involves ongoing collaboration and trusting partnerships among the family and a child’s health care providers1. This approach provides continuous care to address a child’s medical needs. A child’s medical home is usually centered in a pediatrician’s office. It is made up of a team that includes the child and family, primary care physicians, office staff, specialists, and public health service professionals2. When using this team approach, primary care is accessible, comprehensive, and compassionate for all children3.
Strategies for Developing a Medical Home
Here are four strategies for ongoing collaboration and trusting partnerships within a medical home.
- Develop a trusting partnership between a child’s family and health care providers who respect the family’s culture and diversity (e.g., share details about the child’s health, strengths, and needs).
- Establish communication methods preferred by the family (e.g., online, in person, print).
- Prioritize the family’s schedule and individual needs to coordinate care. For example, consider family’s work schedule or additional supports that might be needed to attend appointments (e.g., transportation or coordination across multiple care systems for children with special health care needs).
- Work together as a team to implement a personalized care plan with the family, physician, and other service providers.
- Listen to and respond to each member of the care team to ensure a comprehensive approach to medical care for the child.
- Connect parents and caregivers with each other to form a circle of support through sharing experiences and resources found within each family’s medical home.
- Make sure each member of the team knows and understands the child’s medical history, including medical events in between visits (e.g., an urgent care visit).
- Organize communication, collaboration, and transitions among pediatric providers or specialists with a focus on supporting the child and family while navigating medical systems of care.
- Evaluate whether child, medical, and family-related services are developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive.
- Confirm that all recommended medical evaluations and services support the child’s health, well-being, and development.
- Consider medical costs to the family and timeliness of care (e.g., increasing weekly services may reduce dependence on medications).
What We Are Doing
The Anita Zucker Center and our collaborators work to advance practices that support coordinated care for all children.
Healthy Kids Medical Legal Partnership
The Healthy Kids Medical Legal Partnership (MLP), a collaboration between UF physicians and the Southern Legal Council (SLC), works to expand access for children with barriers related to early health care and education. MLP partners with the Anita Zucker Center to place non-legal education issues of children from birth to age 5 with faculty supervising graduate students to consult, educate, and assist families seeking early intervention, special education, or early care and education services or supports.
Articles by Center Members and Collaborators
- Factors Associated with a Patient-Centered Medical Home Among Children with Behavioral Health Conditions
Read this research article about a patient-centered medical home by Anita Zucker Center affiliate member Dr. Lindsay Thompson and colleagues.
Resources and Tools for Parents
- A Medical Home Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Read this article from Healthy Children magazine outlining the features of a medical home.
- Your Child’s “Medical Home”: What You Need to Know
This PDF resource for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Center for Medical Home Implementation (NCMHI) describes a quality medical home.
- Envision Next Generation Pediatrics: An Evolution of the Family-Centered Medical Home
This infographic describes the importance of a medical home to address children’s unique needs.
- Care Plans for Children with Special Needs
This web page has downloadable forms parents can complete when creating a personalized care plan for their child.
- The Patient-Centered Medical Home is Not Always the Primary Care Provider’s Office
This blog discusses how children with chronic and complex illness may have specialty medical homes.
- The Medical Home, Access to Care, and Insurance: A Review of Evidence
This article from Pediatrics provides a review of research showing how the medical home model reduces health disparities; it also addresses how insurance does not guarantee a medical home and how parents and communities need to be involved.
- A Review of the Evidence for the Medical Home for Children With Special Health Care Needs
This review of research from Pediatrics outlines how a medical home reduces health care costs, improves timeliness of care and family functioning for children with special needs.
- Incorporating Patient- and Family-Centered Care Into Practice: The PA Medical Home Initiative
Read this article about family-centered care from the AAP journal Pediatrics.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, National Resource Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home (2020). Building your medical home: An introduction to pediatric primary care transformation. Retrieved from https://medicalhomes.aap.org/Pages/default.aspx.
- Kash, B., Tan, D., Tittle, D., Tittle, K, Tomaszewski, L. (2016). The pediatric medical home: What do evidence-based models look like? The American Journal of Accountable Care, 4(2), 34-40.
- America Academy of Pediatrics. (2020). Medical home. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/professional-resources/practice-transformation/medicalhome/Pages/home.aspx
Dedicated to supporting the well-being of young children and their families, the Anita Zucker Center has engaged with its partners to launch an ambitious initiative designed to provide accessible and practical information about child development and learning to support parents, caregivers, professionals and policymakers.
The A to Z’s of Early Childhood is a trusted source that offers robust, quality and up-to-date information and resources informed by the science of early childhood development and learning – from short videos and quick tips to academic research and detailed policy briefs.