As we move toward value-based care in today’s modern healthcare system, the emphasis remains on care coordination. Care coordination, by definition, involves determining where to send a patient, sharing information among multiple healthcare entities, and managing accountability among the healthcare professionals responsible for patient care. The overall goal is to provide higher-quality, and more effective care.
Controlling chronic conditions through coordinated efforts is one of many strategies to improve the health of patients. This is because:
- 3 out of 4 Americans over age 65 suffer from multiple chronic conditions.
- 75% of primary care visits are for patients with chronic conditions.
- Approximately 71% of total healthcare spending in the U.S. is associated with care for Americans with more than one chronic condition.
Many clinical team members work with a chronic care patient – from the primary care physician to the specialists, nurses, technicians, and other clinicians – and each gets a unique view of the patient. Putting those observations together in a meaningful and actionable way improves coordination.
These 5 tools can help improve your care coordination for patients with multiple chronic conditions:
- Electronic health record (EHR) technology. A comprehensive EHR can provide better integration among providers by improving the sharing of health information. Providers can view up-to-date lists of medications, standardize and share care plans, allow care through telemedicine, and share treatment strategy and outcomes. It can notify providers when a patient has been to the hospital, so that they can follow up accordingly. If the EHR has mobile capabilities, providers may access health records and test results anytime, anywhere. The availability of this information can reduce medical errors and unnecessary or redundant tests.
- Chronic care management (CCM) service. Consider a CCM service that can extend care beyond your office. This program can help you to handle administrative tasks and provide tools to help you meet your care goals and comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement requirements. Typically a care coordinator is assigned to develop a customized comprehensive care plan and to support and coach patients. Clinical and patient information is aggregated and shared appropriately.
- Practice management (PM) system. The right PM software can help you improve the administrative processes and workflows of your practice. A PM system can include tools that support your clinical processes, like sending automatic text messages and appointment reminders to your patients.
- Collaboration platforms. Physicians need a platform that has a common workspace to review patient charts and track different activities. It should support integration with external systems such as EHRs. Having audio and video capabilities can make it easier for the clinical team members who can’t meet face to face to collaborate. Make sure the platform you select is HIPAA-compliant.
- Don’t underestimate the power of accurate data, and how it can contribute to patient insights. Leverage it to determine who might be most at risk or need attention, and to provide resources to patients who need it most, encouraging them to partner with you in their care.
Care coordination can ensure that patients don’t slip through the cracks. Having the right tools can create links between doctors, facilities, and patients that ultimately improves quality of care and patient outcomes.
To learn more about an EHR, PM solution, quality and risk reporting, or chronic care management services from Quest Diagnostics, contact our sales support at 1.888.491.7900.