We discuss care coordination tools in our second article about what providers need to be successful in value-based care payment models. In this series, we will discuss the range of tools and strategies to succeed in value-based care arrangements, including:
Care Coordination Tools
There is a growing need for care coordination across multiple provider settings, especially among primary care practices. As many practices move towards value-based care arrangements, care coordination becomes critical for effective patient care. One way to achieve coordinated care is through the use of referral management tools and eConsults. These tools have been proven to effectively manage care transitions and ensure patients receive the appropriate care.
Before we dive into the benefits of referral management tools and eConsults, it is important to understand the need for coordinated care. Between hospital stays, primary care visits, specialist appointments, and other healthcare-related services, patients may be seen by multiple providers. Each provider may have different goals and be unaware of what the other providers do. This lack of coordination can lead to the following:
- Fragmented care that drives up costs.
- Requests for unnecessary or duplicate imaging lab work and tests.
- Delayed care that delivers poor outcomes for the patient.
When care coordination fails, the cost to the US healthcare industry is more than $27.2 billion. To avoid this, healthcare providers must work as a team and communicate effectively to provide optimal patient care.
Referral Management Tools
Referral management tools are designed to streamline the referral process between providers. These tools manage the referral process from start to finish, including creating and tracking referrals, appointment scheduling, and communication between providers. By using referral management tools, providers can reduce the time it takes to process referrals, monitor referral status in real time and ensure patients receive timely and appropriate care. AristaMD’s care transition platform also quickly verifies insurance eligibility and surfaces the best providers for that patient, ensuring they are in-network, close to the patient, and experts in the specific clinical need.
eConsults, or digital health consultations, are a type of asynchronous telehealth that allows primary care providers (PCPs), including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to consult with specialists in real time. With eConsults, PCPs can send electronic consultations to specialists and receive feedback within a predetermined timeframe. This allows providers to quickly receive specialist input, reducing the need for in-person consultations and ultimately saving time and resources. Additionally, eConsults can help reduce wait times for specialist appointments, providing more timely patient care.
Referral tracking software and eConsults provide numerous benefits for providers and patients. These tools help streamline processes, reduce wait times, and improve patient outcomes. Care coordination becomes more important as providers move towards value-based care arrangements. By streamlining the referral process, referral management tools can reduce the number of lost referrals and ensure appropriate care is provided promptly. Likewise, eConsults allows providers to consult with specialists in real time, saving time and resources. For patients, timely care and streamlined processes lead to better care outcomes and an improved overall experience.
The future of coordinated care with referral management tools and eConsults is promising. As more providers implement these tools, the potential for improved care outcomes increases. However, it is important to note that these tools can only be successful if used properly. Practices must monitor these tools to ensure proper utilization. Using referral management tools and eConsults, providers can effectively coordinate care across multiple providers and settings, ultimately providing the best care possible for their patients.