Care management is a promising team-based, patient-centered approach designed to assist patients and their support teams in managing their medical conditions more effectively. Current options in care management solutions are limited and this is a hindrance because proper care management will reduce cost and improve the quality of care to those who need it. However, having a proper care management system can be difficult and resource and time consuming if not done properly. Multiple data sources are usually involved hence making data integration integral to have an optimized care management system. Since care management involves teamwork, team members have to frequently communicate with each other and also communicate with the patients receiving this care.
Care Management faces some problems to tackle these problems organizations continue to come up with inventions, solutions, and partner with other organizations to produce better solutions. A proper care management system should be able to manage the right people and have a positive impact on them, identify and communicate best practices and allocate the right support and programs for different patients and their needs. So how can these problems be overcome? How can care management be improved on? The answers to these questions are dynamic and ever changing and improving. Below are some ways care management can be improved keeping in mind that improvement must continually be sort. Complacency, especially in healthcare, is very dangerous
Ways to Improve Care Management Solutions
- Identify your Long-term and short-term goals
- Make patient engagement a priority
- Have a Patient and family feedback system
Identify your Long-term and Short-term Goals
One of the first and most important steps in proper management is identifying your long and short term goals. Same goes for care management. In the past, lack of clarity about goals has hindered healthcare. Narrowing down the goals and distinguishing between long and short term ones will improve efficiency and quality. This goal setting should start from senior management and trickle down through the entire healthcare organization. A Harvard paper takes this point further to state that goals should match hospital mission statement. They state very astutely that goals should not focus on growing margins and profit but instead should be focused on improving patient care and quality of service.
Make Patient Engagement a Priority
Patient engagement is necessary for a patient-centered care management system. Engaging patients helps care systems not only identify their needs but predict potential need and be proactive to solving them. One way to keep patients engaged is using the Mobile-first approach (smartphone apps) enables secure, real-time, multi-point messaging, assessments, and care planning to engage and support all care team members (patients, friends, families, social workers, care navigators, etc.) across multiple EMRs.
This patient-centered approach creates a momentum that improves the quality of care, patient satisfaction, and overall efficiency. Patient satisfaction is very important in care management because if a patient is unsatisfied in most cases it could be drastic. It could mean they are not healed properly or they are still ill. This leads to the next point which is having a proper patient feedback system.
Have a Patient and Family Feedback System
Having a properly functioning feedback system not only helps improve efficiency but also helps build trusting relationships between patients and care providers. A feedback system should begin at the beginning of the process not after. Having patient interviews at the start to identify their fears and help them ease into the complex procedures improves the overall care system at all levels. When patients have a proper understanding of their illness they don’t feel as overwhelmed and value the care team more and communicate better thus creating a vicious circle of efficient communication.