Proper patient care can require services from several different providers. When a patient receives care in the ER or gets a diagnosis from a physician, it is only the beginning of their treatment and recovery process.
These processes require care coordination between different specialists. For example, physicians need to communicate their treatment plan to a physical therapist or surgical specialist.
Proper coordination, information sharing, and feedback between medical professionals can improve the treatment outcome, help reduce costs, and ensure insurance coverage of the patient.
Here are the steps necessary to effectively coordinate patient care services:
- Define treatment needs for the patient and their desired outcomes.
- Define specialists, clinics, and other healthcare professionals who need to be involved in the process.
- Ensure that everyone involved in the holistic care of the patient understands the goals and has access to necessary data.
- Have a method for communicating changes and providing updates as the treatment and recovery progress.
Because the healthcare system in our country can sometimes be confusing and decentralized, you may need a care coordination specialist to work on your behalf to ensure you get the coordinated care that you need.
What Is Patient Care Coordination?
Patient care coordination involves collaborative care and information sharing between health professionals who work in different places or provide different levels of care.
Care coordination can occur in different settings.
- Primary care coordination is typically for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or a physical or mental disability. Coordination needs to occur between labs, pharmacies, specialists, and primary care physicians and nurses who need access to the latest data to track treatment.
- Acute care coordination involves the treatment of a sudden onset disease that requires care after stabilization. Examples can include stroke, disabling accident, burns, or post-surgical recovery. Care coordination is essential because this type of patient is often unable to organize services independently.
- Long-term care coordination involves organizing treatment for ongoing conditions, such as a mental illness or physical disability. Elderly patients who need continuing care at assisted living facilities also fall into this category.
Coordinated care is important in each of these situations. Here is a closer look at the benefits that it provides.
The Importance of Coordinating Patient Care
After a patient has been to the ER, received a diagnosis, or been referred for long-term care, they can get the benefits of care coordination. This service will help patients in the following ways:
- The patient comprehends the treatment they will receive, and they understand the process and the people involved in their care.
- With care coordination, physicians can focus on holistic care that meets all the patient’s needs.
- A care coordinator can locate and organize resources to meet the patient’s treatment needs.
- Care coordination can improve the patient’s overall experience and increase their confidence in the effectiveness of care.
- You can avoid repeating treatments and duplicating costly tests if you have care coordination to ensure efficient and effective data sharing between healthcare professionals.
- Care coordination helps the institution and caregivers move a patient from one facility to another without losing data or making unnecessary changes to treatment plans.
- If a doctor changes the patient’s treatments, a coordinated care specialist can ensure everyone involved in the patient care process receives the updates.
- A care coordinator can take the patient’s needs into account and ensure that they have access to the most convenient clinics and pharmacies.
Care coordination ensures that patients have access to the necessary patient care services. Also, with access to all the necessary information and treatment plans, all the healthcare professionals involved in the process can work with patients more efficiently instead of spending time chasing down patient information or duplicating treatments or tests.
Patient Care Services
Patient care services are all the treatment and diagnostic procedures that healthcare professionals provide.
For example, a child suspected of having cancer will be referred to an oncologist by their pediatrician, who will then examine the child and run additional tests. If there is a cancer diagnosis, the child will be referred to a cancer treatment center. A surgical specialist may provide patient care services to remove tumors, or the child may undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
After these treatments, the child will still need home-based care or rehabilitation to recover fully. They will also need follow-ups and tests to ensure the cancer does not return.
A care coordinator can ensure that all of these patient care services work toward the same goal: remission of cancer and return to normal life for the child. They can streamline the process and avoid duplicate tests and treatments while facilitating data sharing.
Also, care coordination can ensure that everyone who treats the patient knows about important underlying conditions, allergies, or other circumstances that could cause adverse reactions.
Obtaining Care Coordination Services in Charlotte
Navigating the healthcare system on your own can be intimidating. Organizing ongoing care, dealing with insurers, and planning rehabilitation can be confusing. However, with the assistance of a patient care coordinator, you can avoid the stress and confusion and have confidence that you will achieve the best possible outcome with your treatment and rehabilitation.
Care Weavers has experience working in the healthcare system in the Charlotte area. They can act as your advocate so that you can focus on returning to full health. Contact Care Weavers to learn more about care coordination and other patient advocacy services available in the Charlotte area.