Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

March 20, 2013

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962


From Health Affairs


European Countries Surveyed about Application of Patient-Centered Medical Home


Bethesda, MD -- A new study, being released today as a Web First by Health Affairs, finds that five European countries have adopted aspects of patient-centered medical homes, a US model for comprehensive care. However, additional efforts are needed to fully implement this concept outside the United States. The data was gathered through a survey, questioning 6,428 patients who had one of eight common chronic illnesses. Also, 152 primary care providers across five European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and England) were queried.


Survey Of 5 European Countries Suggests That More Elements Of Patient-Centered Medical Homes Could Improve Primary Care


By Marjan Faber, Gerlienke Voerman, Antje Erler, Tina Eriksson, Richard Baker, Jan De Lepeleire, Richard Grol, and Jako Burgers


Faber, Voerman, and Grol are affiliated with Radboud University, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Erler is with Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany; Eriksson is a general practitioner in Copenhagen, Denmark; Baker is a professor at the University of Leicester, in England; De Lepeleire is affiliated with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Belgium; and Burgers is with the Dutch College of General Practitioners in Utrecht, the Netherlands.


The study, which will also appear in the April issue of Health Affairs, was supported by The Commonwealth Fund.


The survey found that each country offered high quality of care for its patients--and between 87 and 98 percent of patients in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark had a single primary care physician. The rate was lower in England--74 percent--where more primary care tasks are typically delegated to nurses. Although the survey demonstrated agreement in most areas between patients and physicians in evaluating their primary care experience, significant differences did emerge in the Belgian, Dutch, and English samples on frequency of illness self-management instructions. In those countries, doctors reported providing the instructions less often than reported by their patients. "A strong focus in the European reforms on practice organization may have undermined the core values of a productive doctor-patient partnership," conclude the authors. "The results highlight the extent to which patients value having a personal physician, even when structural aspects of their health care systems, such as teams and copayments, stand in the way."

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published periodically and health policy briefs published twice monthly at You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter. Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download weekly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes.

The full text of each Health Affairs Web First paper is available free of charge to all Web-site visitors for a two-week period following posting, after which it switches to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. Web First papers are supported in part by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.