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Factors that impact care coordination

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Care coordination is of particular importance to primary care physicians. Patients are often referred to specialists, sent for tests, and prescribed medications by other physicians. A clear understanding of the patient’s total care profile is crucial for providing quality medical care to those patients. Often, however, care coordination by primary care physicians is lacking. There are a number of factors, according to recent research, that determine why better care coordination is given to some patients over others.

A 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy survey was conducted of primary care patients in 11 countries, including the United States. The results showed the highest rate of poor primary care coordination to be in the medical field in the United States.

The research provided some insight into the factors that impact care coordination. Survey results indicated that the “likelihood of poor primary care coordination was higher for patients with chronic conditions … and patients younger than 65 years.”

Chronic condition patients benefit more from coordinated care

Patients with chronic conditions experience the lowest rate of care coordination, yet this group is the population segment that would benefit greatly from just such coordination. Primary care physicians who treat chronically ill patients need to have a complete understanding of the patient’s specialty care visits, test results, and medications.

The research also indicated that “the likelihood of experiencing poor primary care coordination was lower if the primary care physician often or always knew patient’s’ medical history, spent sufficient time, involved patients, and explained things well.”  Enhanced communication with other providers and with the patient can help optimize care coordination for all patients.

An EHR system offers primary care physicians the opportunity to provide higher quality care coordination. Having immediate access to a patient’s complete medical history, including specialty visits, lab results, and medications, improves the provider-patient relationship and enables the primary care physician to optimize care coordination for that patient.

At Elation, we are concerned about the quality of care coordination available to primary care physicians and your patients and we have developed the tools that will help make a difference for you.