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The Importance Of Collaborative Care

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Bobbie Byrd

Quality healthcare is generally high on everyone's priority list, but patients may need to engage with multiple clinicians, including a primary care provider and several specialists. If providers don't proactively share information and coordinate treatments, individuals may not receive the proper care they need - leading to diminished outcomes or poor patient experiences. However, your practice can implement proven solutions that support a collaborative care approach.

What Is It? | The Importance Of Collaborative Care

The main goal of collaborative care is meeting patients' evolving needs and it occurs when providers have accurately assessed their patients as well as know how to effectively communicate between referral sources or other clinicians involved in multi-disciplinary treatment plans. This also ensures the security of electronic medical records (EMR) that are exchanged and helps streamline the delivery of patient care. 

When providers coordinate, they purposely organize patient-related activities within the primary care practice, but still share information among disciplines taking part in the patient's treatment plan. Collaborative care not only encourages primary providers or specialty professionals to work together on challenging cases and pursue in depth research, but it also empowers patients to improve outcomes and obtain better results. 

In general, there are two ways to achieve effective, productive and efficient coordinated care: 1) making use of commonly accepted broad approaches to improve health care delivery; and 2) using specific activities to coordinate care. Some examples of broad approaches to collaborative care include:

  • Multidisciplinary teamwork
  • Managed care (i.e. Medications)
  • Patient-centered medical home care

Some examples of specific activities for coordinating care are:

  • Establishing parameters for accountability and responsibility
  • Effective communication and knowledge sharing
  • Assisting with transitions of care
  • Completing patient needs and goals assessments
  • Developing proactive, multidisciplinary care plans
  • Monitoring and adapting responses to changing patients' needs
  • Offering support for patients' self-management goals
  • Coordinating with community resources and aligning them with demographic needs

How Collaborative Care Benefits Patients

What is it about collaborative care that benefits patients and providers alike? According to the University of Washington AIMS Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, a collaborative team approach to patient care offers a variety of advantages, such as:

  • Evidence-based. A collaborative care team approach to providing patient care has the backing of dozens of controlled trials to support its effectiveness.
  • Improved medical outcomes. Coordinated care is linked to better treatment outcomes for patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic arthritis.
  • Help with challenging patient cases. Challenging cases are an invitation for the patient to "fall through the cracks." Using a collaborative approach to treating these individuals gives them and their providers the benefits of having more than one clinical expert engaged with treatment plans.
  • Team approach. This is when providers leverage a proactive approach that incorporates various treatment disciplines to ensure improved patient outcomes. 

Improved Patient Experiences

When patients recognize a collaborative care approach, they often become much more engaged. By including the patient in planning, treatment implementation and securing their feedback through tools such as surveys and engagement campaigns, providers can easily adjust care plans according to patient preferences. In fact, studies show that evaluating patients' experiences can validate positive outcomes, such as boosted self-esteem, feelings of empowerment and an increased sense of independence. Moreover, these assessment tools can pinpoint patients who may feel their needs are not being met or their involvement isn't being prioritized. 

When providers solicit patient feedback and evaluate satisfaction rates, they can coordinate educational activities that have a meaningful impact on the experiences they offer. In addition, patient insight can serve as a guide for focusing resources, service delivery and policies governing the practice.

Software To The Rescue

A team approach to anything can fall into disorganization without a strong central core to bind it all together. However, providers can avoid common pitfalls by equipping their collaborative team with the right tools. A reliable, efficient, user-friendly software platform can prevent patients from being overlooked or underserved and ensures your current patients receive the very best healthcare your team has to offer.

Patients and providers alike, everyone benefits from a well-trained clinical team working with technology-enabled solutions that allow them to efficiently implement care strategies. Patients receive attentive, top-notch care, while your team members can avoid unnecessary frustration and burnout. Another advantage of a technology-based approach is that specialists can collaborate from any location, at any time. Whether the doctor is across town or the therapist is in another part of the state, the patient can access each professional's skillset via mobile healthcare delivery systems and telehealth solutions. 

Every healthcare practice should utilize a comprehensive software that streamlines workflows, enhances engagement and most importantly, automates all the moving parts assisting in patient care delivery. With the right solution, you can facilitate communication between different patients, providers, referral sources and payors as well as empower everyone to work together as though they were in the same place. Click here to learn more about how to optimize your clinical staff. 

Working Smarter With A Proper Software Platform

When healthcare professionals across disciplines collaborate to deliver comprehensive care, patients are able to retrieve insight from a team of experts while practices enhance operational efficiency. Intuitive practice management software can promote positive patient outcomes while also driving revenue growth by maintaining the quality of care your patients expect and reducing costs to your bottom line.

At Raintree Systems, our Connect engagement platform provides the virtual communication tools you'll need for your practice to implement collaborative care.  Be sure to also take a look at our clinical documentation, business analytics and billing tools. If you're interested in scheduling a free demo - click here!


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