The term care coordination is becoming increasingly prevalent in every aspect of health IT, from HIPAA to patient satisfaction. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines care coordination as:
“Care coordination involves deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a patient’s care to achieve safer and more effective care. This means that the patient’s needs and preferences are known ahead of time and communicated at the right time to the right people, and that this information is used to provide safe, appropriate, and effective care to the patient.”
Few would argue about the importance of the concepts noted above, and the potential positive impact those can have on both quality of care and patient outcomes. What the success some early adopters of value-based programs shows us, though, is that improved care coordination can also result in better business outcomes for physicians and practices. While fee-for-service payment methodologies remain a stronghold, to many providers it may seem counterintuitive to redesign care processes for the smaller percentage of payments driven by quality, or value. By choosing the right care coordination tactics, though, practice improvements can be made that positively impact outcomes regardless of specific payment methodology in question. So how, then, can your practice achieve some of these net-positive outcomes by improving your care coordination?
First, let’s discuss some of the specific aspects of care coordination that positively impact patient reported outcomes.
- Deliberately organizing patient care activities – Using proven evidence-based clinical protocols, and layering in the necessary administrative steps through which a patient must be managed – registration, appointment scheduling and attendance, and billing and accounting – enables consistency in care delivery and reduction of waste and delay that is often accompanied by unnecessary variability.
- Sharing information among all participants concerned with a patient’s care – a shared, meaningful and contextual view allows providers to make quick, informed decisions on patient care and communicate all pertinent details to colleagues on the care team, providing an accurate view of patients’ progress in real time.
- Patients’ needs and preferences are known ahead of time and communicated at the right time to the right people – Patients are assessed early and often on a number of different facets, and their response data is used to uniquely tailor their care experience to their needs and manage their risk at the most appropriate level.
- Patient information is used to provide safe, appropriate, and effective care to the patient – Actionable data points are collected, secured, and readily available for monitoring care delivery performance, quality and outcomes performance, and more.
Selecting cost-effective, achievable measures to track your progress towards your care coordination goals will save time and money, allowing you to increase efficiency and improve patient-reported outcomes at every step of the care process.
Care Coordination and Return on Investment
As reimbursement models incorporating outcomes measures continue to take hold across all points of care delivery, the demand for dedicated care coordination solutions continues to grow. Whether you are a self-employed clinician or a hospital CFO, it is likely that one of your goals is to measurably improve patient outcomes, without incurring additional undue costs. The published return on investment for care coordination varies wildly, from a net-no-return to, in some cases, over 600 percent. Those models that have shown the most efficacy have emphasized patient and caregiver education, standardization of care protocols, multidisciplinary provider collaboration, and a focus on patient management particularly around care transitions and follow-up. Larger investment has not necessarily been shown to result in better return, but rather a more targeted approach towards a narrower patient population. In Part 2 of this blog series, we will explore this in more detail.
Is your care coordination solution and patient outcomes management process saving your team time and money? Contact MDnetSolutions to learn how you can optimize the process through MDMessenger, Pathways, and our concierge services including our NurseLine and Medical Call Center. Or call us at 888.986.3638.
Hayley Kenslea, Director, Product Management
Hayley Kenslea ensures that our technology delivers for clinicians, patients, and systems by coordinating the work of our technical teams and client services.
Our product knowledge expert and workflow engineer for Pathways and Call Center services, Hayley joined MDnetSolutions with almost 10 years of experience in physician practice management, workflow reengineering, and EMR and BI optimization.
Hayley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Global Health from Emory University and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.