As we age, we experience more complicated medical issues and an increased chance of developing health problems.
According to the National Council on Aging, approximately 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Seniors with such conditions must see multiple physicians often at different locations, each with their own specializations. As a result, they often face poorly coordinated care.
By 2030, the elderly population will reach over 72 million people—more than twice the number in 2000— and will represent 19% of the U.S. population.
As the population ages, it’s important that they have quality health services. However, 80% of eligible Americans enrolled in Medicare are without access to care coordination services. The demand for these services only will increase, especially as seniors experience more difficulty coordinating their own health care needs and as their family members struggle to take full ownership of these responsibilities.
Patients, providers and payers all benefit from coordinated patient care. Here are some helpful tips for managing it:
The basics of coordinated care
Coordinated care is designed to bring your healthcare team together to better serve you—the patient. A care coordinator works with you, your primary care physician, family members, caregivers and other doctors to develop an individualized patient plan.
Some aspects of coordinated care are:
- Care and/or medication management
- Communicating information
- Assisting with transitions of care
- Identifying patient needs and goals
- Patient monitoring and follow up
- Establishing accountability and responsibility
- Linking to community resources
Having a plan and sharing information with all concerned parties improves communication and, in turn, your well-being.
The costs of coordinated care
New data published in the JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that improvements in patient care coordination for those with chronic conditions could save Medicare up to $1.5 billion a year and reduce the risk of patient complications. The study looked at data from almost 300,000 Medicare patients with certain chronic diseases and concluded that even minimal enhancements to their care coordination led to a significant decrease in hospital admissions and the use of emergency departments. It also led to fewer complications and a reduction in healthcare costs.
MetroHealth is a primary care practice devoted specifically to geriatrics. We coordinate directly with your specialists. We will review their findings with you and help you make critical decisions about your health care. Our goal is to ensure you receive the best and most comprehensive coordinated care possible.