John Lennon and Paul McCartney once penned a famous tune containing the lyrics “I get by with a little help from my friends.” While the underlying roots of the song focus on human companionship, these lyrics also reference the main elements of one of the hottest buzzwords in the healthcare industry today: Care Coordination.
But what does care coordination actually mean? Put simply, it is the process that links an individual with complex care needs to all those that play a pivotal role in providing care (the team of caregivers) to that individual. These caregivers can be family members, clinicians, home health aides or other community providers.
This process requires an organized effort to provide each stakeholder with the appropriate services, resources, and information. When care coordination is performed in harmony between all those who provide care, it ensures that each patient receives the right care, at the right time, from the right person, and as a result, eliminates any gaps in the support a patient needs.
Unfortunately, care coordination is a term that is easier said than actually done. Caregivers such as hospital-based specialists, primary care physicians, and community providers to name a few, can face a number of hurdles to overcome when trying to coordinate care; how can they all securely connect? How can documents be shared among team members that all use different systems? How can they engage the patient in their care?
Along with multiple complex privacy requirements, this level of disconnected communication can result in untimely care, or worse, medical errors resulting from not having a 360-degree view of the patient. For example, can you imagine the consequences of a community-based physician and a hospital-based specialist providing a patient with two different prescription medications that cause harmful or even deadly effects when taken together? Sadly, this happens far more often than it should and is a direct result of the lack of coordination between caregivers.
While care coordination may at times be challenging for providers, it is essential for the well-being of the patient. Without it, patients, whether child or adult, are often left at a disadvantage; their caregivers do not have a clear picture of the needs of the whole patient and therefore patients are not receiving the care they require or deserve.
In addition to providing patients with the care they deserve, the current era of value-based care has shifted the priorities of healthcare executives towards care coordination. With key initiatives such as improving both patient experiences and outcomes, as well as optimal payer reimbursement, now paramount – care coordination is no longer ‘nice to have’ – it’s essential for all caregivers to get on-board.
So, what are the driving forces behind care coordination? No matter your setting, the keys to care coordination remain the same:
Ensure timely, efficient, and privacy- compliant sharing of information such as important documents, forms or patient notes.
Enable seamless team-based collaboration between all caregivers, across settings
Access to historical patient care information to provide transparency in a valuable, context-rich manner
Create effective and intuitive workflows for easier communication among all team members
About the Author
Steven Simmons is an experienced inbound, digital, and content marketer with a rich and extensive background in both the enterprise technology software and startup space. As a seasoned Marketing Manager, he is passionate about formulating and executing strategic marketing plans to help build brand awareness and thought leadership reputation for his organization. While he has a passion for traveling the world, Steven is proud to call Boston, MA his home.