Care coordination is a complex challenge even when all the medical providers on the team are under the same roof.
But when a patient's care is spread out among a hospital, a long-term care facility, a primary doctor, and specialists -- and when it isn't just the patient but the patient's family who need to manage care -- care coordination can be a very weak link. Plus, as Medicare rules change, care coordination becomes a even more crucial part of the equation. As one example of the kind of immediate problem poor care coordination represents, Hospitals & Health Networks Daily looked at how poor communication and inadequate medical collaboration causes readmissions for LTC patients. Poor communication and discharge and inadequate followup can cause LTC patients to end up back in the hospital -- a costly and painful setback for everyone involved.
With the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) cutting payments for excessive readmissions, this becomes a huge pressure on hospitals. And that means greater pressures on LTC facilities to close the gaps that can create these readmissions.
Our colleagues in long term care facilities make heroic efforts at communication and coordination. But when institutions don't use the same EMRs and there are no mechanisms for collaborating, it can become almost impossible.
So what can long-term care facilities do?
We've noticed the incremental approach work best. When medical providers in long term care facilities use a medical collaboration platform (like iClickCare) to communicate about cases, there is a ripple effect that improves coordination and improve metrics across the organization. Healthcare collaboration is one of the highest impact things a facility can do to decrease readmissions. Telemedicine solutions just make it a little easier.
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