Most healthcare providers unprepared for longitudinal care

Most healthcare organizations are not prepared to deliver standardized longitudinal care across multiple provider systems, according to a new study by healthcare industry analysis firm Chilmark Research.

Shared care plans, the agency said, combine the interests of all stakeholders in a patient's healthcare journey and thereby encourage wellness and reduce patients' overall need to use healthcare services. However, a number of organizations are still two to three years away from being ready to provide all patients with digitally-based, value-centered care plans that take into account their whole health picture and long-term--i.e., longitudinal--plans for goals for outcomes.

Chilmark's report found that the current market remains inexperienced in developing, using and deploying care plans. However, researchers believe these circumstances provide a vast array of opportunities for innovators and early adopters who can effectively address those issues.

"Care plans in use today are most often a compilation of disparate inputs from clinicians and a modicum of evidence-based medicine that rarely includes a 360 degree patient view," Matthew Guldin, the report's lead analyst, said in an announcement. "Coupling these shortcomings with a lack of digital enablement, care plans are the weak link in the care management process." 

The current crop of available care plans, the study found, fails to go beyond the basics of coordinated care. Many are still paper-based, leaving institutions largely on their own to construct care plans and processes and then make them available across multiple platforms.

Shared care plans can be particularly useful in helping patients cope with chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. With all of the patient's information at their fingertips, doctors, clinicians, care providers and specialists can stay apprised of each patient's up-to-the-minute status, enabling them to provide care in an efficient, coordinated way. However, in order for all of the agencies to cooperate, organizations must remove barriers to information sharing and provide clear channels of communication across departmental boundaries. 

As requirements for Medicaid reimbursements tighten and other external forces push the healthcare industry increasingly toward value-based care, organizations must take the following actions to create longitudinal care plans, including:

  1. Describe steps that facilitate coordinated care
  2. Indicate which data elements should go into a care plan
  3. Provide best practices for using care plans in inpatient, post-acute and behavioral health settings

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- download the full report (subscription required)

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