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How investing in primary care can enhance care coordination

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How investing in primary care can enhance care coordination How investing in primary care can enhance care coordination July 20, 2017

What is the relationship between primary care and care coordination? Most patients, particularly those who are critically ill or elderly, see more than one medical care provider. They are referred to specialists or sent to outside medical facilities for tests or procedures. Primary care coordination is a critical piece of overall care management for these patients.

In a recent Health Affairs blog post, author Russell Phillips states that “additional investment in primary care is likely to sustain transformation, improve patient outcomes, and will be cost neutral, or cost saving, overall.” Phillips cites the “the experience of Rhode Island’s statewide payment innovation model and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)” as an example of how investing in primary care can enhance the overall quality of patient medical care.

Increased investment in primary care in Rhode Island, adjudicated and monitored by the Care Transformation Collaborative (CTC), has resulted in decreased hospitalizations and improved patient experience. When primary care coordination is employed and supported with financial investment, a primary care home is established, from which additional care is coordinated. The primary care physician is better able to manage the patient’s care, reducing duplications of lab tests and other procedures as well as more effectively managing the patient’s prescription medications.

One of the advances that will improve primary care delivery cited in the Health Affairs Blog article is “coordination of care across the medical neighborhood.” How do primary care physicians enable care coordination to occur? An investment in primary care is an investment in enhanced care coordination. By focusing on primary care coordination, using a solution such as Elation’s Clinical First EHR for example, primary care physicians can drive that model creation for their own practices.

Coordinating care requires communication, both with other providers and with the patient. The primary care physician must have a clear understanding of the patient’s complete medical care, to be able to coordinate that care safely and effectively. Preparing for a patient visit by accessing the patient’s electronic health records (EHR) enables the primary care physician to focus on the quality of that care.

Check out a sample chart and learn more about coordinating care with Elation’s solutions for your primary care practice.

[Vasin Leenanuruksa] ©