Chronic conditions and primary care

Chronic conditions and primary care

Patients with chronic conditions typically are seen by multiple providers. For example, a person diagnosed with diabetes may need to see an endocrinologist, a dietitian, and an eye care specialist, as well as undergo lab tests and stays in healthcare facilities. Coordinating and managing this patient’s care is best accomplished by the patient’s primary care physician.

In fact, in the case of patients diagnosed with diabetes, the primary care physician may provide most of the direct care for the patient. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that, although “endocrinologists or other diabetes specialty physicians are involved in caring for many people with diabetes, primary care physicians provide more than 80 percent of diabetes care.”

A primary care physician is able to coordinate care, collaborating with the patient’s specialty providers, to ensure that the patient with a chronic condition receives consistent, quality healthcare. Without such collaboration, each provider, laboratory, and healthcare facility is working in a silo-like environment. The potential increases for duplication, particularly with lab tests and medications. More importantly, the potential for errors also increases, when providers are not communicating with each other regarding the patient’s plan of care.

Communication with the patient and with other providers is extremely important for the primary care physician in the treatment of a patient with a chronic condition. Relying on the patient’s memory or waiting on paperwork from other providers can create serious issues and add to the complications of the patient’s overall health care.

A tool such as Elation’s Clinical First EHR enables the primary care physician to seamlessly and securely coordinate care for patients with chronic conditions. Visit notes, laboratory results, medication orders, and specific patient information are all available with just one click. The primary care physician is also able to identify patients who aren’t meeting goals based on custom care management protocols, Meaningful Use objectives, or specific document tags, and easily schedule a follow-up appointment to address any potential gaps in care.