How to improve care coordination with technology

How would you rate the coordination of patient care between care settings at your organization? Mostly or fully coordinated? Somewhat coordinated? In a recent NEJN Catalyst study, more than half (53%) said the latter. Only 37% of respondents said care was mostly or fully coordinated at their organization.

These numbers aren’t nearly as high as they should be.

Provider operations teams have historically relied on a largely manual care coordination process without any automation, standardization or workflow efficiencies. They may utilize 3-4 different technology tools throughout their day, leading to “dashboard fatigue.” This status quo is no longer sustainable. Modernized care coordination requires innovative technologies to be operationally efficient while also providing the right information to support the right care required by the right patients at the right time.

How can you recognize a technology platform that will improve care coordination? It must do three things: enhance interoperability, enable patient-centered care, and ease care transitions.

Enhancing Interoperability

Care coordination is a team sport. Various providers from disparate agencies and care settings must work together to achieve clinical goals and improve the patient’s health status. Without connectivity and communication between these groups, care becomes costly, duplicative, and potentially harmful for the patient.

A quality care coordination technology platform helps facilitate this communication by creating interoperability. By establishing the right data connections, this technology prevents communication breakdowns and ensures providers have all of the right information available when making care decisions.

This includes aggregating and organizing patient data in a central location for various providers to access and utilize to collaborate on care. Different key players within a care team can view, edit and act on data in a shared patient view, rather than operating on incomplete or inaccurate information. All of these efforts are enhanced by secure messages between providers to share patient insights and clinical information.

Outside of the platform, care coordination technology should also integrate with other digital tools, through linking and application programming interfaces (APIs), to create a seamless experience across resources for providers and patients. It’s crucial that any care coordination technology solution be customized to an organization’s unique needs and integrated with your other efforts and tools.

Texture Health's care coordination technology solution enhanced interoperability for a regional ACO's various providers, resulting in reduced total cost of care for 170,000 attributed lives by 3.5% in year one and 5% in year two.

Read the full case study!

Enabling Patient-Centered Care

In any team sport, there is usually one goal: to score points. That type of centralized focus and teamwork effort is essential to care coordination. The patient’s health goals must be at the center of everything you do.

This includes focusing on the total healthcare needs of the patient, not just one particular provider’s role. There’s no “I” in team.

Having a single source of truth on a patient’s health—the data contained within the care coordination technology platform—empowers this patient-centered care experience. From that source, providers can proactively monitor patients, rather than being passive participants in their care. One way this is done is through task triggers and reminders to reach out, schedule an appointment or screening, or follow up with patients. Also, having all patient data in one platform allows for customized and automated care plans to create workflow efficiencies and implement best practices. And finally, a platform that enables secure messaging across disparate care settings helps organize provider’s around the best approach for the patient.

In these scenarios, the care manager is the patient’s biggest champion. The more information they have at their fingertips, the more empowered they are to remove obstacles, mitigate concerns and improve overall health outcomes. When care managers spend less time digging for information within a manual process, they spend more time with patients and become more effective.

Easing Care Transitions

Most teams need a playbook to be successful. There should be a plan for the handoff from one player to the next. The same can be said for patients. When patients move between care settings, it is critical that their health information travels with them.

Currently, this process is largely ineffective. Research cited in a Health Affairs article estimated $44 billion in annual wasted spend due to care coordination failures. Technology is key to improving these processes.

The right care coordination technology eliminates the guessing game of care planning. A record of interactions is kept and an order of operations established to create seamless transitions of care. This also creates a system of accountability for the care team—each step and task in the care plan is assigned to an individual provider, and, when something slips through the cracks, it’s clear who is responsible.

Because all of this information is contained in one platform, care managers have immediate access to this critical patient information needed to provide follow-up support, educate patients and caregivers, and monitor ongoing progress. This also includes communicating beyond the care setting. Much of this can be automated through a care coordination solution, including scheduling follow-up visits, sending reminders to ensure medication adherence, checking on recovery progress, and more. These activities go a long way in preventing readmissions, avoidable ER visits and condition deterioration.

Improving Care Coordination Through Technology

Everyone benefits from improved care coordination. Especially those with chronic and poly-chronic conditions, where care is complex and requires input from many different providers and resources. These patients are also typically high cost and at risk for complications, readmissions, and declines in functional status.

Regardless of the patient population, care coordination technology creates a collaborative environment where providers are empowered with data to make more informed clinical decisions, which ultimately improves outcomes for the patient.

To learn more about how Texture Health can enhance your care coordination efforts, contact us to schedule a demo.

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