Care management is defined as “programs apply systems, science, incentives, and information to improve medical practice and assist consumers and their support system to become engaged in a collaborative process designed to manage medical/social/mental health conditions more effectively” by the Center for Health Care Strategies. According to CHCS the goal of care management is “to achieve an optimal level of wellness and improve coordination of care while providing cost effective, non-duplicative services”. The idea behind care management is to effecitvely coordinate care among multiple patients across varying diseases and levels of complexity. In today’s technologically advanced world, care providers must leverage solutions that not only make care management more effective, but also more realistic. To do this care teams must have clearly defined roles, goals, and tasks. Without this clear definition it is likely that things with be duplicated or worse forgotten at the monetary, physical, and emotional expense of the patient.
When talking about care management, the idea is that hospitals, health systems, and the entire healthcare ecosystem will work as a cohesive team, each with a strategic role to provide quality yet personalized care to each individual patient, while managing dozens of patients at a time. The only way to actually achieve a “optimum level of wellness” while reducing costs is to find the right tools that connect each member of the care team from the patient to the doctor and everyone in between and around.
The right tools do not only lie in the sharing of information from HIEs or EMRs, but instead in the setting, meeting, analyzing, and revising of individual tasks and goals. Care management is not an ideal, but a practice. Regaining control over care management is a large step in the right direction toward improving the quality of care for millions of patients across the country.