According to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, coordinated care, seen in new care models like accountable care organizations, caused a 6 percent decrease in the number of hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries. Approximately 20 percent of this patient population is readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge as a result of care transitions.
Coordinated care relies heavily on the use of health information technology, such as electronic health record and clinical archiving systems, as tools to share patient information among providers. This process can be facilitated through health information exchanges, which connect multiple community or statewide medical centers. Setting up these networks is a large component of stage 2 of meaningful use, as it helps promote quality care delivery for Americans.
The investigators conducted this study as a project to see the impact that coordinated care has on healthcare, especially since without it, Medicare beneficiaries have a tendency to experience errors when transitioning among different medical facilities, which can cause them to be re-admitted to a hospital. They evaluated different communities to see how the new care model impacted them before and after the transition.
The researchers discovered that those communities that transitioned to coordinated care experienced a decline in 30-day hospitalization and all-cause hospitalization.
"This has far reaching implications for the future of healthcare at any level," said lead author Jane Brock, M.D., chief medical officer, quoted by Healthcare IT News. "When a community works together to improve care at the system level, everyone involved will see the positive effects."
In addition, the National Institutes of Health conducted a study in which they found that coordinated care is especially beneficial for patients who have multiple chronic conditions, and lowers their use of emergency departments.