By Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association
With national healthcare leaders and federal regulators focusing now more than ever on how to achieve the triple aim of healthcare--reduced costs, better outcomes and improved patient experience--experiments on the best way to achieve this sprout up throughout the country.
One of the major movements in recent years is a push toward care coordination--the implementation of best practices so that patient care among different healthcare partners like hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and primary care physicians is harmonized and best serves the patient. The concept of care coordination has been around for decades, but is only just now maturing.
Here are a few things we know so far from the research about care coordination:
- When taken in aggregate, care coordination tested in the Medicare program has not moved the needle much on spending
- Specific care coordination practices, however, have made significant progress in reducing emergency room use, hospital admissions and readmissions, and cost
- Successful care coordination requires a mix of intense data analysis/patient outcome modeling and personal, intimate knowledge of each patient's needs