Closing the gaps in patient care has been an issue in the health care industry for decades. How do providers manage to care for patients who may have several teams of caregivers attempting to improve their quality of life? Care coordination may be ready to go high-tech due to integrated medical technology that requires specialized software.
The goal of care coordination revolves around providers of acute, ambulatory and home care for patients who need to manage how they receive treatment. Sometimes, an urgent care center may not realize that a patient was hospitalized two months prior with the same condition. Home care nursing aids for elderly patients may not know the patient saw a primary care physician two days earlier.
Closing the care coordination gap means preventing mistakes while taking care of patients. Making sure prescriptions are not contraindicated, regimens do not cause pain and guidelines do not detract from the quality of care represent viable reasons why technology can help providers deliver the best treatment.
Electronic health records are not enough. Software, often based in secure cloud-based systems, must provide proactive patient management in the coming years. This medical technology assists care teams that specialize in treating patients who suffer from chronic conditions or regularly move from one aspect of care to another. Instead of insurance companies or patients attempting to wade through care coordination hassles, specialized companies create software to manage, alert and assist providers with making the right choices.
Integrated networks, coordination organizations and health insurance companies must look into this type of software to remain competitive. This segment of the health care industry may see an annual growth rate of 26.1 percent between 2015 and 2020. The reason for such growth may be due to the influx of retiring baby boomers obtaining medical treatment from home care facilities, primary care physicians, hospitals and nursing homes.
The need for care coordination tools, including software and wearable devices, is expected to grow by more than 43 percent annually until 2020. Hospital visits may increase by more than 33 percent per year, while the payer segment should increase 21.5 percent. Companies that connect devices, records, programs and reports to cloud computing applications stand to benefit from this new way of providing patient care.
Wearable technology companies can get on board with this growing effort. A wristband worn on a patient's wrist for a week can send lifestyle data through an Internet connection to a physician's office. The doctor can then recommend changes to improve the person's health. Another device delivers precise amounts of insulin into a patient's bloodstream and transmits the data to a doctor's computer. A program then ascertains how often the patient uses the device to determine any future changes. Implantable sensors can also send information to the cloud for doctors and providers to examine.
The most successful care coordination tools provide solutions through unified, secure platforms that quickly manage at-risk patients. This technology enables teams of providers to implement plans and engage patients in their own self-management. The health care industry stands to grow quickly thanks to this 24/7 communication network of providers and patients.
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