What Is Care Coordination?
Patient care coordination is a patient-centered approach to helping authorized care providers and family members share information and manage patient care activities. It includes discovering, recording, and emphasizing patient preferences and needs so that time-sensitive information can facilitate safe, effective, and appropriate care. Targeted care coordination delivers high-quality, high-value health services and improves outcomes for patients, healthcare providers, and insurance companies.
Coordination of care balances comprehensive strategies with focused patient-centered action to provide quality service. It fosters teamwork and collaboration among care providers at all levels of expertise and utilizes health information technology to organize care, share knowledge, and manage medication. Coordinators help assign or determine responsibility while establishing accountability and ensuring that all parties, including caregivers, communicate effectively.
Coordination of care also involves:
- Assessing a patient’s healthcare needs and desired outcomes.
- Supporting a patient’s overall well-being.
- Generating a proactive plan for care.
- Reducing and eliminating inessential or redundant tests and procedures.
- Facilitating information transfer from one care provider to another.
- Maintaining a patient’s care plan and responding to changes.
- Helping patients self-manage their care.
- Providing access to relevant resources.
Although some aspects of patient care coordination are common to most healthcare environments and patient types, care coordination should be flexible enough to consider a patient’s needs and goals.
Why Is Patient Care Coordination Important?
The American healthcare system encompasses inpatient, outpatient, home-based, and community care. Since communication practices among healthcare entities need to be standardized, there is a need to coordinate and manage care transitions at all stages of treatment. Transitions frequently occur with no global common knowledge of the patient care process, creating barriers to or gaps in communication.
Well-coordinated care can:
- Help patients understand specialized care referrals, appointments, and aftercare.
- Give specialists access to information about prior testing.
- Provide primary care physicians with relevant information gathered during a referral visit.
- Consolidate, standardize, or reconcile inconsistent processes among primary and specialty care sites.
- Streamline processes to prevent information loss and help referral staff communicate easily with providers.
What Are the Different Types of Care Coordination?
Within the healthcare system, coordinated care may be organized around different nodes corresponding to a patient’s particular needs and situation. Other types of coordinated care include:
Acute Coordinated Care
When a patient receives emergency treatment at a hospital, acute care coordinators manage the transition of care, including prescription fulfillment and follow-up treatments. Attentive coordination of aftercare can reduce hospital readmissions and mortality.
Long-Term Coordinated Care
Patients who live in a residential nursing facility may experience changing needs over time. As a result, their care plans and medication must be adapted to their circumstances. Care coordinators work with caregivers and patients to ensure patients receive adequate care, manage expectations, and encourage a good quality of life.
Guided Primary Coordinated Care
Guided primary coordinated care assigns primary responsibility for patients with chronic conditions or illnesses to a registered nurse (RN). The nurse works with primary and specialty care providers to ensure that the patient’s treatments are appropriate and complete. This oversight can keep a patient care plan on track and reduce the overall cost of care.
How Can Care Coordination Impact Patient Care?
Well-implemented coordinated care can have a measurable positive impact on a patient’s overall well-being. Best practices can:
Help Patients Understand Referrals for Specialized Care
Care coordinators can help patients understand the need for specialized care when they receive a referral to a new provider. They can also help patients schedule appointments and counsel them about follow-up care.
Facilitate Coherent, Orderly Administration of Care
Due to a need for specialization, information and communication systems within an organization may need to be more cohesive. Within a healthcare facility, different departments may have a diverse range of operating processes. Primary and specialty care sites may also have other communication protocols. Care coordinators can act as liaisons to smooth the transfer of information.
Coordinate Primary and Specialized Care
If a provider or patient experiences problems or poor communication during the referral process, care coordinators can reduce friction and ensure that all parties are adequately informed. Specialists should understand the purpose of the visit and receive access to the results of pripreviousagnostic tests. Primary care physicians need to respond to new information gathered during the referral visit so they can cogently make any necessary adjustments to a patient’s ongoing care.
Provide Complete Information
When healthcare staff handles information transfers among various providers, they can inadvertently lose essential information. Care coordination helps track all records to promote efficient care.
Verdi Oncology Specializes in Effective Care Coordination
In today’s quickly changing, complex healthcare environments, coordinated care can be critical to providing patients with a positive care experience. Verdi Oncology is a company that provides oncology practice management. It helps small practices in the United States implement innovative coordinated care strategies that help providers improve service and efficiency while prioritizing a personalized patient experience. Verdi Oncology helps small practices grow by emphasizing five core values: positive patient experience, patient growth, clinical pathways, practice efficiency, and value-based care. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.