Care Coordination: A Linchpin in Achieving the Triple Aim


Tue Mar 29 13:00:27 CDT 2016

Today’s providers offer patients some of the world’s most cutting-edge medical treatments, technologies and medications, yet one of the largest obstacles patients face isn’t access to healthcare systems’ tools – it’s navigating the system itself.


Too often, patients with multiple ailments are referred to multiple doctors, but many are not properly brought up to speed on the patient’s health history. This results in wasteful or duplicate testing and exams, confusion and frustration for the patient, and more obstacles for doctors. Hospital executives know this from both professional and personal experience.


Care coordination is increasingly important in achieving the Triple Aim – improving the patient experience, improving population health and lowering per-capita healthcare costs. Better care coordination can help hospitals boost their patient satisfaction scores and improve population health by better managing care for individuals.


Here are two areas all healthcare providers should be focusing on when it comes to care coordination to improve patient experience:


1. Integrating technology where possible.


Information within a healthcare system is often fragmented and inconsistent, despite the fact that 78 percent of office-based physicians have adopted electronic health records.


The benefit of EHRs is greatly limited when clinicians have to read through them the same way they did paper charts. Simple fixes, such as standardizing units of measurement (meters versus inches, for example) or adding short summaries of office visits can greatly alleviate confusion and save time.


Working toward more significant changes, such as integrating a patient-based portal across silos to easily share information and updates, such as syncing lab results from multiple sources, can greatly improve efficiency and raise patient satisfaction scores.


2. Establish a point person


Following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more payers are tying reimbursement to patient experience. What better way to improve experience than helping patients navigate the system? Whether within a hospital’s four walls or a primary care doctor’s office, care coordinators can cut down on duplicated efforts, delays and miscommunications, and make significant strides toward a patient’s experience in your health system.


Care coordinators are serving an increasingly important role in providing more holistic care for individuals. They find them reliable transportation, enroll them in low-cost pharmacy programs, and make sure, especially for elderly patients, who they are taken care of at home – in addition to aiding with insurance claims and scheduling appointments.


Due to the changing healthcare landscape, providers are now incentivized to work toward improving the patient experience. Though there may be a variety of strategies to boost patient satisfaction scores, care coordination tactics such as investing in better technology and working with local care coordinators are sure-fire tactics to increase efficiency, reduce patient frustration and improve patients’ overall well-being.


How is your team working to improve patient care coordination?   Share your story in the comment field!