One of the major needs in the American healthcare system today is for a treatment program that synchronizes and coordinates care between primary physicians and other points of treatment, such as hospitals, specialists, and case management workers. Patients with chronic illnesses who are most at risk for repeat emergency room visits and hospitalizations can especially benefit from wrap-around care that ensures smooth transitions between various points. What does synchronized care really look like?
Creating Integrated Healthcare Experiences
Synchronized care is characterized by strong communication and integrated healthcare experiences. Care Synchronicity creates a safety net by building stronger relationships between patients and doctors, tackling social barriers to care, and offering easy access to medical professionals around the clock.
Care Synchronicity differs from case management in that care synchronicity leverages community-based services to enact early intervention. Case management, on the other hand, often occurs on post-crisis care management for patients who are already in the hospital. Synchronizing care provides a complementary service towards a more sustainable system of health care by working to prevent re-hospitalization and improve communication amongst all caregivers.
A Team-Based Approach to Care
New studies are recognizing the value to of a team-based approach to care. When primary care physicians have a team to support their efforts, they can focus on managing their patients and building stronger patient/provider relationships. If patients need care after hours or on weekends, they should know there are options available to them apart from hospitals. When community members are aware of local urgent care centers or drop-in clinics, and are assured that these care centers are integrated with their primary care givers, they are much more likely to seek timely and inexpensive care options. In contrast, when patients feel confused about their fragmented care options, they are likely to resort to the front-of-mind options. Often patients do not have a deep relationship with a primary care physician, so they go to their specialist or hospital emergency rooms.
A core aspect of synchronized care involves delivering information about a patient’s treatments back to the primary care physician, thereby ensuring no medical information is lost in a filing cabinet.
Home Care Coordination: Medical Reconciliation
Patients who do not qualify for home care benefit immensely from the added assistance of synchronized care that sets patients up for success in their home environment. Simplifying complicated treatment regimens and educating family members makes all the difference in preventing re-admission, which statistically represents 1 in 5 patients without synchronized care.
When patients return home from hospital stays or other treatments, one of the best ways to ensure continuity of care is to send a care provider to conduct a home visit. A home visit allows care providers to perform medication reconciliation, making sure the patient has any and all medications ordered by providers. It also allows care providers to build positive connections with family members or friends of patients, who are often, overlooked caregivers in patient’s care provision.
Addressing Social Barriers to Care
Part of synchronized care involves taking an active role in addressing social barriers to health. Many patients have a knowledge deficit when it comes to self-administered care; some patients lack in-home support systems; some patients face financial obstacles which prevent them from receiving proper treatment or managing their own care. Value-based care providers who are aware of barriers and proven care programs can help patients overcome these social barriers. Education needs to be administered in convenient, community-oriented settings so that members and friends create a strong support system for patients.
A Picture of Synchronized Care
When it comes to addressing chronic illness in a positive way that achieves results and works for patients, family members, and care providers, the answer is synchronized, wrap-around care that addresses all aspects of a patient’s life – social, familial, and medical. Synchronized care is a resource for patients and physicians alike, smoothing transitions between points of care, fostering stronger patient/provider relationships, and making treatment easily accessible.