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Who Cares About Care Coordination

Good care coordination helps patients easily navigate the health care system.

A lot of 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 participated in, and funded, the survey. All 11 countries found out they have coordination problems associated with a lack of information and communication among providers.

A lot of 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 find the most relevant community service;
  • Involve patients in choosing service;
  • Ensure everyone is clear about who will be helping next, and when.

Focus on solving these 3 problems to build a care coordination approach that patients will appreciate.


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