Coordinated care's 'dirty little secret'--it's not very well coordinated

There's a "dirty little secret" about coordinated care: No one is responsible for it. So says Lucian Leape, M.D., a Harvard health policy analyst and a nationally recognized patient safety leader in a report from Kaiser Health News and the Washington Post.

Despite strong evidence that accountable care models do effectively achieve their goals of improved health outcomes, happier patients and more satisfied physicians and staff, most physicians need more help than is currently available to make the transition to team-based care, as FiercePracticeManagement reported last week.

By some accounts, physicians worry that ACOs will strip them of control over patient care--and prefer autonomy over coordination.

Advocates for hospital patients and their families say confusion about who is managing a patient's care--and lack of coordination among caregivers--contributes to the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths from medical errors each year, according to the KHN/Post article.

The article offers plenty of examples of care communication breakdowns, including a patient who saw at least 14 doctors when she was hospitalized at New York Hospital Queens for almost four weeks last year.

It also includes specific examples of programs that can prevent communications, such as formal pre-admission education sessions for patients scheduled for surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., so they know "almost to the hour, let alone to the day, what's going to happen," according to Chief Medical Officer Michael Rock.

To learn more:
- read the article