Colocating Services May Help Practices Become Better Medical Homes

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<p>Pediatric practices wishing to strengthen their capacity to serve as medical homes may want to consider having other practitioners and service providers colocate. The new Commonwealth Fund issue brief <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2008/jul/colocating-health-services--a-way-to-improve-coordination-of-childrens-health-care
">Colocating Health Services: A Way to Improve Coordination of Children's Health Care?</a> shows that by providing a variety of children's services--from mental health care to nutritional counseling--in the same setting, a practice can enhance its ability to address the multiple needs of children and their families.<br><br>Pediatric practices are facing growing demands to address more fully the often overlapping needs of families, such as assessing and addressing a child's developmental and behavioral issues; treating chronic conditions, obesity, and substance abuse within the household; and helping parents navigate the complex and fragmented health care delivery system to obtain services. Colocating a variety of services under one roof is one option for maximizing both access and coordination.<br><br>But despite anecdotal evidence that colocation is a growing phenomenon, it is one of the least explored approaches to care coordination. In her brief, author Susanna Ginsburg of SG Associates Consulting describes the extent to which children's services are colocated, the types of services that are likely to be colocated, alternative models of colocation, and benefits and costs to providers and patients.<br><br>According to Ginsburg, "Colocation appears to be an approach that pediatric practices should consider as they examine how best to meet the challenges of creating a medical home for their patients."</p>