Prompt and accurate data sharing with office-based primary care and specialty physicians after a hospital discharge is essential for effective care coordination. Too often though, healthcare provider organizations can lose sight of who all this care is being coordinated for: the patient.
Ultimately, it’s the patient who needs to be able to access and understand the hospital providers’ discharge instructions, take the prescribed medicines, and follow through with all the follow up appointments scheduled with office-based primary care physicians and specialists.
Using technology to ensure the patient is the focus of the care coordination equation is a good idea, but it needs to be the right technology. There is no one-size-fits-all for every patient, but mobile technology is emerging as a highly effective care coordination and engagement tool for all ages. In fact, smartphone adoption has reached 68 percent among all U.S. adults, and 58 percent among those ages 50 to 64 years old.1
Maintaining engagement after discharge
If the patient were enrolled in a care transition or readmission prevention program while still in the hospital, they could be equipped with an integrated, personalized smartphone application to access care plan information and appointment schedules after discharge. The patient would also be introduced to a personal care liaison who would educate the patient about how to check-in daily through the app and would follow-up with that patient by phone to answer care plan questions and share information with the patient’s care team.
On the provider side, the care team could then view and adjust the care plan from their own integrated app based on patient feedback and status updates captured by the care liaison and the app. The care liaison would then update information and educate the patient about the regimen’s changes.
It is essential, though, that this technology is user-friendly to help engage diverse patient populations at varying levels of technical acumen. That’s why a careful assessment of each patient should be conducted before enrollment in such a program.
With easy-to-use mobile technology coupled with a personal care liaison for motivation and support, hospitals and health systems can ensure patients are never left out of the care coordination equation.