What Care Coordination actually means in healthcare
At VectorCare, we’ve recently decided to make the shift from calling ourselves a “healthcare logistics” company, to specializing in Care Coordination. While this may seem like semantics to some, we believe this shift is crucial to the way we manage and view the patient journey at VectorCare. We want to distance ourselves from the typical supply-chain model of healthcare and focus on a future centered around the patient and their individual needs.
During this shift, many of us found ourselves asking: “what is care coordination, exactly?”
According to the NEJM catalyst, the innovative offshoot from the New England Journal of Medicine, Care Coordination: “synchronizes the delivery of a patient’s health care from multiple providers and specialists”
In a typical healthcare supply chain, emphasis is usually placed on costs and product logistics, rather than the actual care being delivered to patients. This model of healthcare tends to neglect the many siloed touchpoints of care along someone’s health journey.
Oftentimes, we think of the pathway from sickness to wellness as a predictable A → D event, shown below.
Yet, in reality, we all know that the healthcare ecosystem involves many different players and touchpoints. Navigating the system can be a messy and lengthy progress. Take a look at a sample workflow of what a typical patient’s journey might look like today:
In order for patients to receive the highest level of care, a team of physicians, nurses, insurers, pharmacists, and other service providers must coordinate with one another to fill the interlocking pieces of the diagram.
Despite this, most care providers still communicate with one another through a clunky collection of fax machines, phone calls, and sometimes, no communication at all.
Poor healthcare communication infrastructure can lead to:
- Redundant tests and medical records for the patient
- Inaccurate billing
- Medical errors (80% of serious medical errors occur because of miscommunication during care transitions)
- Referral leakage which costs the US over $150 billion annually
- Missed appointments
When care providers don’t coordinate with each other, the patient is forced to navigate the labyrinth of healthcare by themselves.
Care Coordination acts as a roadmap here, using technology to connect these touchpoints along the patient journey. It strives to organize individual medical events into a central, cohesive pathway to wellness. It recognizes that health and service providers must coordinate together to provide care around the individual, rather than in isolation from one another. This becomes the foundation for a model of patient-centered, value-based care.
- Is patient-centered
- Focuses on technology-enabled collaboration between all members of a care team
- Includes preventive and post-operative care
- Improves care transitions and information exchange
- Works to align resources with patient needs
Through compatible tech infrastructure, care professionals can eliminate misinformation along the healthcare ecosystem and improve efficiency. But, most importantly, Coordinated Care means an emphasis on the patient: their individual needs, desires, and pathway to wellness. Patients should not be another product in a supply-chain, but the priority and center of any healthcare system.
Coordinated care is crucial to the patient-centered future, and we’re ready to join the transformation.
At VectorCare, we’ve designed a platform where healthcare service providers can synchronize their skills, efforts, and resources into an efficient healthcare delivery workflow.