Good coordination of care occurs when health-care providers work together to organize care activities; share information with each other, the patient and his caregivers and agree on their respective roles.
Without good coordination of care, risks for medical error rise significantly.
The medical adviser to Consumer Reports asserts that patients can play an important role in ensuring that good coordination of care occurs.
The first step to take is to have a primary care doctor.
If a patient has more than one chronic condition then he is likely to see more than one doctor. A primary care physician can help facilitate the communication among specialists. It is important to ensure that the primary care physician is kept in the loop by asking that all specialists send all records and visit notes to the primary care physician.
If a patient is does have chronic conditions, doctors cannot bill Medicare for time spend coordinating care for patients with multiple chronic conditions.
Patients should also keep copies of all their medical records. If medications are prescribed by more than one health care provider or through more than one physician network, it is important to keep a folder of medical information and take it to all health care appointments. Therefore, if a provider isn’t up to speed, a patient can quickly share important facts on tests, treatments and more.
It is also important for patients to get results of medical tests quickly. Sometimes patients assume that if they don’t receive results of medical tests quickly than everything is fine, unfortunately every doctor’s office has had organizational systems fail.
Patients are especially vulnerable to adverse drug events, misunderstandings about care instructions and preventable readmissions at hospital discharge. Patients should have a clear discharge plan, which illustrates which medications to continue and discontinue; when and with whom to schedule follow-up visits; how wound or incision dressings will be cared for at home; and when a catheter needs to be removed.