First Lady Michelle Obama’s longstanding effort in reaching out to medically underserved communities started on the South Side of Chicago back in 2005. The idea behind this initiative based its principles on being able to connect with those residing in lower socioeconomic areas via education and providing easier access to direct treatment centers, rather than ramping up emergency room costs for otherwise treatable and self-manageable conditions. Creating self-awareness and becoming proactive in the cause slowly progressed into networking with patients and putting them in touch with local clinics, where doctors’ fees paled in comparison to the cost of emergency room visits.
Mrs. Obama served as vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center in ’05, when the Urban Health Initiative became her impetus to push forward by implementing these services that are still in place today. Recent statistics show a gradual improvement in finding what Mrs. Obama calls a "medical home" for those who are either indigent or uninsured.
A study conducted back in 2004 concluded that by employing the use of these types of programs, a significant amount of money could be saved annually, totaling $67 billion, or five percent by comparison. In 2011, the number of patients successfully completing their scheduled appointments increased to 40 percent, as opposed to the 33 percent success rate in 2005.
Doctors, analysts and consultants generally concur that the increased success of the medical home project is primarily due to the cooperation, participation and legwork of all parties involved. Today’s networking technologies are also instrumental in channeling the necessary information in terms of connecting physicians with specialists and pharmacies throughout each respective community. Educating patients regarding their own conditions and stressing the importance of self-monitoring mixed with assisted care is a an evident recipe for success at the local level.
Read more at Forbes.