Not even IT eases the difficult care coordination process

This week, FierceHealthcare reported on healthcare's "dirty little secret" about coordinated care: it's not very well coordinated and no one is responsible for it.

The "secret" was aired in a Kaiser Health News/Washington Post article, in which hospital patient advocates bemoaned confusion about who is managing a patient's care, provider miscommunications, unsafe hospitalist workloads and lack of coordination among caregivers.

And exacerbating that lack of coordination is the fact that most physicians need more help than is currently available to create and sustain team-based care-- key to implementing coordinated care plans.

To add to the difficulty, health IT tools, while poised to improve care, can create more challenges for teamwork, communication and coordination. For example, the time-lag between sending and receiving information from specialists and hospitals is often a point of contention for providers.

These reports deliver a tough reality check on the lack of coordinated care, but I still hold out hope that we'll see more team-based, coordinated healthcare system.

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