Care fragmentation and other inefficiencies cost the healthcare system at least $130 billion each year, according to estimates from the Institute of Medicine. No wonder, then, that effective care coordination is viewed as essential for improving the healthcare system and achieving better patient outcomes.
Less widely known is how vital care coordination is to health systems’ efforts to maintain their financial viability. New reimbursement models tie financial rewards and penalties to patient outcomes, such as 30-day readmission rates, that are directly related to the quality of care transitions and other aspects of well-coordinated care. The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, “Crossing the Quality Chasm,” recognized the importance of effective communication to care coordination with the recommendation that “Clinicians and institutions should actively collaborate and communicate to ensure an appropriate exchange of information and coordination of care.”3 To achieve the level of care coordination required today, healthcare organizations must ensure that communication between clinicians is streamlined, efficient and secure.