Evidence suggests that patient-centred medical home (PCMH) is more effective than standard general practitioner care in improving patient outcomes in primary care. This paper reports on the design, early implementation experiences, and early findings of the 12-month PCMH model called ‘WellNet’ delivered across six primary care practices in Sydney, Australia. The WellNet study sample comprises 589 consented participants in the intervention group receiving enhanced primary care in the form of patient-tailored chronic disease management plan, improved self-management support, and regular monitoring by general practitioners (GPs) and trained clinical coordinators.
The comparison group consisted of 7750 patients who were matched based on age, gender, type and number of chronic diseases who received standard GP care. Data collected include sociodemographic characteristics, clinical measures, and self-reported health assessments at baseline and 12 months.
Early study findings show the mean age of the study participants was 70 years with nearly even gender distribution of males (49.7%) and females (50.3%). The most prevalent chronic diseases in descending order were circulatory system disorders (69.8%), diabetes (47.4%), musculoskeletal disorders (43.5%), respiratory diseases (28.7%), mental illness (18.8%), and cancer (13.6%). To our knowledge, the WellNet study is the first study in Australia to generate evidence on the feasibility of design, recruitment, and implementation of a comprehensive PCMH model. Lessons learned from WellNet study may inform other medical home models in Australian primary care settings.