This page provides a definition of the medical home model, a history of the medical home, and numerous resources to help explain the medical home model to clinicians, families, and policy makers.

A new infographic, "Back to Basics: Tips to Understand and Implement the Medical Home Model" is now available from the National Center for Medical Home Implementation.

Updated: January 2017

 Medical Home Definition

A medical home is an approach to providing comprehensive and high quality primary care. A medical home should be the following:

  • Accessible: Care is easy for the child and family to obtain, including geographic access and insurance accommodation.
  • Family-centered: The family is recognized and acknowledged as the primary caregiver and support for the child, ensuring that all medical decisions are made in true partnership with the family.
  • Continuous: The same primary care clinician cares for the child from infancy through young adulthood, providing assistance and support to transition to adult care.
  • Comprehensive: Preventive, primary, and specialty care are provided to the child and family.
  • Coordinated: A care plan is created in partnership with the family and communicated with all health care clinicians and necessary community agencies and organizations.
  • Compassionate: Genuine concern for the well-being of a child and family are emphasized and addressed.
  • Culturally Effective: The family and child's culture, language, beliefs, and traditions are recognized, valued, and respected

A medical home is not a building or place; it extends beyond the walls of a clinical practice. A medical home builds partnerships with clinical specialists, families, and community resources. The medical home recognizes the family as a constant in a child's life and emphasizes partnership between health care professionals and families.

 Medical Home History

  • 1967: The medical home concept and terminology is introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to describe a central location for a child's medical records. The focus was on children and youth with special health care needs, in particular.
  • 1978: Pediatrician Calvin CJ Sia, MD, FAAP, works to create a comprehensive child health plan in Hawaii, introducing the medical home as an approach to primary care for children and youth with special health care needs.
  • 1992: The AAP publishes a policy statement defining the medical home.
  • 1999: The Maternal and Child Health Bureau awards a five-year cooperative agreement to the AAP for the establishment of a Medical Home Program for Children with Special Needs. This later evolves into the National Center for Medical Home Initiatives for Children with Special Needs (1999, 2004) and the National Center for Medical Home Implementation (2008, 2013).
  • 2002: The AAP publishes an updated medical home policy statement, expanding on the definition of the medical home.
  • 2007: The Joint Principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home are published by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, and the AAP.
  • 2010: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is signed into law by President Barack Obama. The law emphasizing the implementation and promotion of the medical home model for children and adults.
  • 2013: The National Center for Medical Home Implementation is awarded an additional 5-year cooperative agreement from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. With this funding, the NCMHI is focusing specifically on children and youth in vulnerable and medically underserved populations.

 Communicating About the Medical Home to Pediatric Clinicians

The following brochures and flyers can help communicate the definition and components of the medical home model to pediatric clinicians and practices.

Numerous organizations have created videos to assist pediatric health professionals with understanding the definition and components of the pediatric medical home. The following are some examples of available videos: