Research shows that nearly one in three U.S. seniors see at least five different doctors each year. Older adults with chronic health conditions receive care from multiple doctors and specialists in multiple offices. It can be difficult for the patient or their caregiver, who is usually a family member, to keep track of all the details, like symptom changes or tests performed at appointments. This means that some doctor’s appointments may be redundant for the patient, and the patient may not receive the best care. Care coordination seeks to solve this issue by instituting a knowledgeable point of contact for the patient, family members, and healthcare. Keep reading to learn more about care coordination and how it can benefit you or a loved one!
What is Care Coordination?
The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality defines care coordination as “any activity that helps ensure that the patient’s needs and preferences for health services and information sharing across people, functions, and sites are met over time.” In simple terms, care coordination is the process of coordinating health care services between various providers. This includes communication between healthcare professionals and patients regarding treatment plans and medical decisions, as well as collaboration between providers to ensure that patient care is efficient and effective.
Care coordination is a complex issue because there are multiple stakeholders involved in providing care to a patient. These include the patient, their family members, caregivers, geriatric doctors, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, insurers, and other third parties. This process involves identifying these parties, defining roles and responsibilities, developing agreements and protocols, and establishing lines of communication and collaboration across organizations. Care coordination teams can help seniors better manage their medical needs, provide resources, such as referrals, and updates their care teams.
Benefits of Care Coordination
Care coordination benefits everyone involved in the patient’s health. Here are some ways it benefits patients, their families, and their medical providers!
For the Patient
Redundancy in testing and exams can be exhausting and frustrating for patients. By providing clear communication to medical providers, care coordination eliminates this duplication. Care coordinators listen to the patient’s concerns and develop a plan to address them with their medical providers. Patients will be more satisfied with their care because it is more streamlined and personalized to their needs. Care coordinators focus on a patient’s physical, mental, and social health. They can connect patients to resources like support groups and counseling if needed.
From changing facilities to changing doctors, seniors with chronic health conditions will likely experience several transitions throughout their healthcare. Care coordination seeks to create an easy transition process for the patient by providing their new provider and facility with information regarding medical history, medications, and symptoms.
For the Families
Often, patients’ family members become their caregivers and unofficial care coordinators. It can be difficult to balance all of the patient’s appointments, medications, and symptoms. This is especially true if you lack knowledge of the medical field. Care coordination takes this burden off of the family and allows them to spend more time with their loved ones without worrying about their medical care. Care coordinators also provide communication and clarification to the patient’s family so they can better understand the patient’s health conditions and treatments.
For the Providers
As a primary care doctor or specialist, it can be difficult to get the full picture of a patient’s health profile. This often leads to redundancy in appointments which wastes both time and money for the patient and provider. Studies show that medical providers appreciate care coordination because it focuses on clear and timely communication. Care coordination notifies providers of changes in medication, symptoms, and medical history. This allows providers to plan for appointments and provide the best possible care for their patients.
Care coordination is a great service that ensures better care for patients. Reach out to Greenbrook Medical today to find out how they can provide the care you need at the quality you deserve!
We Want to Help You!
At Greenbrook Medical, we believe that every senior citizen should be cared for and treated with respect. That’s why we have made it our mission to provide the best possible care for our patients. Contact us today for a consultation or to request an appointment with one of our geriatric doctors.