How To Improve Care Coordination
What is patient care coordination? In general, care coordination refers to the series of efforts between healthcare providers to make sure that patients get the right care on time. In the community hospital, some challenges to improve coordination can include understaffing, miscommunication, or a lack of resources. Consider these 3 steps for community hospitals to improve patient care coordination.
1. Hire hospitalists
In a community hospital, an extra burden often falls to primary care providers. After treating patients all day in an outpatient setting, primary care doctors and APPs often are then asked to follow up on the care of inpatients. This can quickly lead to burnout. However, hospitalists are healthcare providers specially trained to coordinate the care of patients who have been admitted to the hospital. These specialists are a clear point-of-contact for families and help increase communication between all clinicians involved in a patient’s care. Hospitalists can take the unnecessary strain off primary care providers, leading to increased morale, lower rates of burnout, and improved care coordination.
2. Outsource case management
When a patient presents at the hospital, the case manager is responsible for figuring out where that patient needs to go. In community hospitals, resources are often thin, meaning that hospitals struggle to maintain round-the-clock staffing. However, in many rural communities, a large number of patients present after-hours when many of the full-time case management staff have gone home. By using telecase management teams, hospitals can ensure that this crucial position is filled 24/7.
3. Switch up ED management
In the community hospital setting, many patients approach the emergency department (ED) as the first step in accessing medical care. This means that community hospital emergency rooms are often busy, requiring a high level of care coordination. Some institutions have found success in outsourcing ED management. These administrators are experts, specifically in ED management. By having an administrator who is entirely dedicated to the ER only, hospitals can see significant improvements in efficiency and coordination of care.
Increase coordination, increase patient experience
Positive patient experience can directly impact a hospital’s success. Not only do patients market for the hospital through word-of-mouth referrals, but poor patient experience scores can affect accreditation and reimbursement. When patients are not treated efficiently or do not receive adequate communication, satisfaction scores immediately drop. Work on improving coordination of care and patient experience will likely increase, as well. Start strategizing today on specific ways to improve patient care coordination.