For health care organizations, coordinated care is not one-size-fits-all. While it’s a goal of many, the approaches, priorities and budgets vary, according to a survey of health care professionals conducted by Wellesley, Mass.-based Digital Collaboration Solutions, LLC (DCS), including some home health providers. In many cases, organizations are taking a more reactive than proactive approach.
Among the goals for coordinated care, more than 70% of respondents indicated that improving patient outcomes was the main goal. Improving the patient experience was another goal, with 20% of respondents stating it was their most important goal for coordinated care.
DCS sees this as “good news” despite how organizations differ in their goal setting.
“This is good news, an almost universal understanding that yielding better patient outcomes and experience is the net focus of care coordination,” the organization writes in its report of the survey results. “Although driven by revenue penalties and a need to lower costs, most survey respondents believe that improving care coordination to improve patient outcomes and experience makes good business sense as well.”
Coordinated care efforts are a top priority among 86% of the organizations interviewed, although 55% said they do not have a budget dedicated toward those efforts. Many say that coordinated care is a byproduct of the clinical work they are already doing, rather than warranting an added-cost approach. Many say leadership underestimates the time and effort coordinated care requires, leading to a feeling that employees are having to do more with less, DCS finds.
Ultimately, while organizations are aligned in their goal to achieve coordinated care, they lack processes to track their progress. More than 77% reported their organizations treat care coordination as a process improvement, yet 40% have no defined process to review, approve and prioritize their approaches. This leads to a more reactive process rather than a proactive one, DCS notes.
“Due to its lack of leadership, care coordination improvements are driven by reactive clinical teams needing to fix problems and respond to poor measurements,” DCS writes. “This lack of a systematic approach leaves many improvement opportunities unrealized and indicates inefficiency in prioritization. It could also be indicative of a fire fighting culture when the opportunity exists to prevent fires from happening in the first place.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker