The Health Technology Event on June 25th, 2015, brought together healthcare industry experts to discuss the main issues impacting Care Coordination in today’s healthcare system. Samir Panchal of Freed Associates moderated this event, seeking out new ideas for integrating health services and technology with a focus on patient-centered care. Discussions centered on the three main points of data integration, communication, and patient privacy.
Samir Y. Panchal, Management Consultant at Freed Associates has worked with a number of clients on innovation and technology solutions, strategy development, and capitalizing on new care coordination reimbursement models. His experience enabled him to effectively moderate this event and direct discussion towards finding solutions to further advance Care Coordination. Other event speakers included:
● Abbe Don – VP of UX, Epocrates
● Lindsey Kempton – Senior Business Development Associate MDP Accelerator, athenahealth
● Anna Larson – CEO & Co-Founder of Hale Health, MDP Accelerator
● Alexandria (Alex) Blacker, MPH – Community Programs Coordinator, Stanford Coordinated Care
● Aaron Imholt – VP Products & Partnerships, LivWell Health
● Deuce Cruse – Senior User Experience Design Manager, Epocrates
This team of panelists brought together new ideas in technology and healthcare services aimed at promoting the patient-centered approach to care and advancing Care Coordination efforts.
1. Data Integration
Panelists agreed that data integration is a major factor that affects Care Coordination. Lack of data integration reduces quality of care and increases delivery costs. In addition, many organizations still utilize traditional communications methods, including paper and fax, thereby complicating care coordination. Focusing on new technologies that integrate existing patient data with a standardized HIE system are key in promoting Care Coordination. Data sharing and information exchange is critical for patient care improvements and will allow information to follow patients through various levels of care.
Breaking down communication silos is a key factor in improving care coordination. Regular and frequent communication between provider and provider, provider and patient, and patient and provider to payer are essential. With complex and chronic care patients, this need is heightened even more. Creating new ways to develop and improve patient/provider communication were key strategies for advancing Care Coordination and utilizing the patient-centered approach to care management.
3. Patient Privacy
Data integration and communication involves extensive information exchanges that can create vulnerabilities in patient privacy and protection. Panel discussion focused on ways to increase data flow and communications without sacrificing HIPPA compliance. Ensuring patient protection requires that the right data follows the right patient. It is crucial to find solutions to keep this data flowing both efficiently and accurately without forfeiting patient rights.
Working Together to Create Solutions
Advancing Care Coordination is a team effort and requires the right tools for collaboration and communication strategies, as well IT solutions for data integration and HIE improvements. All parties agreed that keeping the patient at the center of this system and assigning care coordinator roles is essential for efforts in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Clinical data should be patient and provider relevant and easily interpreted to ensure that it is accessible at every level of care.
Integrating these three main objectives to promote Care Coordination leads to increased quality of care and reduced costs to both the patient and provider. Finding ways to integrate patient data in EHR systems, improve patient/provider communications, and ensure patient privacy all depends on more than just technology alone. Solutions require the right strategies to interpret data and safeguard information as it follows the patient through the care continuum. At the end of the day, the patient should feel a sense of ownership of their personal healthcare information and this patient-centered management approach to Care Coordination will provide the solutions needed for success.