In a recent H&HN article, Joel Splan examines how care coordination benefits healthcare organizations. As Splan discusses the meaning of care coordination, he also brings to light the positive impact it has on patients, their caregivers, and their care providers. The challenge presented by care coordination is not the lack of incentive, but instead the limited resources and the seemingly dauntless task of providing individualized care on a massive scale.
Improving Patient Outcomes
Coordinating care for patients after they leave the hospital is one of the most time-consuming tasks for providers. Not only must hospitals ensure that their patients are prepared for discharge, but they must also reach out to patients multiple times after discharge to ensure they are staying on the path to recovery. This is the opportunity to ensure patients have their medications, schedule their follow-up appointments and understand any other critical pieces of information.
By improving the coordination of care, post-discharge hospitals can reduce avoidable readmissions, improve compliance, and keep patients healthy.
Meeting Financial Incentives
There is a variety of financial incentives for effective care coordination. Specifically, as payment models move from volume-based to outcome-based, as with bundled payment models, hospitals will be incentivized to ensure patients recover quickly and avoid returning to the hospital.
As these new payment models and incentives such as the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program or CCJR continue to levy higher penalties, hospitals will need to better coordinate care to be successful.
Simplifying the Care Continuum
When patients leave the hospital they will likely need additional support to ensure they are following the proper care plan. When care teams are engaged and communicate effectively, they are going to be better equipped to keep their patients on track. When patients feel they have a shorter path to wellness, they are more likely to comply with their instructions.
According to Splan, moving towards better healthcare means reaching higher levels of care coordination. What types of initiatives is your organization taking to move towards coordinated care?
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