Health Care

Care Coordination Should Be As Easy As Booking A Hotel

Tim Berezny
,
February 28, 2017
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Good care coordination helps patients easily navigate the health care system.

Countries care about care coordination. A recent Commonwealth Fund international survey asked seniors how they felt about their transitions in care. United States, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada and a number of other countries funded and participated in the survey. All 11 countries found they have coordination problems associated with a lack of information and communication among providers.

Clinicians care about care coordination. Helping patients get the care they need as they transition settings is a vital role for many health professionals:

  • You have a regular doctor but also receive care from other doctors and medical professionals. Family doctors and nurse practitioners helps make these arrangements.
  • You are at home but need care from some place else. Community care coordinators are there to help you get this additional care.
  • You are leaving hospital and you need follow-up. Discharge planners help you get connected.

In the Commonwealth Fund Survey, 79 per cent of Canadians reported that follow-up care was arranged after their hospitalization. With thousands of discharges every day, that is a lot of clinicians caring, a lot, about care coordination!

A lot of patients care about care coordination, although they might not say this outright. Few patients say “I want care coordination”, just like few travellers express they want on-time connecting flights with “I want vacation coordination”. Care coordination is the kind of thing that, done well, can feel almost invisible to a patient. However, when we hear expressions like “I want to know what will be happening next”, or “I want my appointment in a timely manner”, we know patients want care coordination. Yet we also know that coordinating transitions to community health services is a challenge for patients.

There are many ways we can make care coordination better:

  • Make it easy for clinicians to search for and find the most relevant community service
  • Involve patients in choosing the right service
  • Ensure everyone is clear about who will be helping next, and when, with booked referrals and email confirmations

Focus on solving these three problems to build a care coordination approach that patients will appreciate.

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