Fundamental Principles of Care Coordination

Highlighting the Fundamental Principles of Care Coordination

            The fundamental principles of care coordination encompass novel perspectives centered on the deliberate structuring of patient care to improve treatment outcomes. This process also involves the dissemination of relevant care-related information to fellow healthcare providers and patients with the sole aim of improving safety of boosting care efficiency. Moreover, the fundamental principles of care coordination also involve a keen focus on patients’ needs and core preferences as some of the most noteworthy determinants of achieving desired patient care goals. This, therefore, explains the current preoccupation with effective communication in care as one of the tools harnessed when aspiring for the provision of effective and appropriate care in a clinical setting.

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            Today, the fundamental principles of care coordination have morphed into a broad philosophy that now includes relevant perspectives such as policy issues, community resources, and ethical issues in relation to their impact on the coordination of care. This approach is primarily meant to achieve the highly sought-after goal of achieving a high level of coordination in health to boost care delivery in a precarious contemporary healthcare environment. According to Skinner (2017), teamwork, care management, health information technology, and the provision of patient-centered care plans have emerged as some of the most obvious manifestations of the fundamental principles of care coordination within the healthcare sector.

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Strategies for Collaborating with Patients and their Families to Achieve Desired Health Outcomes                                       

            The overall success of the healthcare system is highly dependent on the presence of a structured system coordinating patients and their families to achieve desired health outcomes. This process has long been known to focus on the creation of a robust healthcare system framework grounded in accountability for all parties involved. Furthermore, this also involves taking responsibility for one’s actions during the delicate process of health while relying heavily on the presence of an elaborate communication channel for the sharing and dissemination of knowledge.

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 These strategies have also evolved to now include practical efforts geared toward creating a smooth transition in care as one of the hallmarks of a system focused on improving patients’ healthcare outcomes and treatment goals (Misulis & Frisse, 2019).  Current strategies for coordinating patients and their families also seek to create a proactive care plan, especially for vulnerable patients, while actively monitoring their progress and responding to any emerging needs. They also seek to harness the potential of community resources; specifically aligning them with patient and population needs.

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Drug-Specific Educational Intervention

            Non-adherence to prescribed medications and treatment plans is among one of the most serious and profound impediments to achieving desired patient outcomes. Drug-specific educational interventions were, therefore, developed to address non-compliance among patients given that it is now recognized as a leading public health risk. Moreover, drug-specific educational interventions are particularly relevant in the management of chronic diseases and health conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes given their role in keeping patients in a state of remission. Such interventions are often accompanied by a rigorous treatment plan seeking to completely reorganize patients’ destructive behavioral patterns while seeking to bolster psychological adaptation.  Drug-specific educational interventions, therefore, strive for a scenario where a patient’s behavior during treatment corresponds with the recommendations proposed by the respective healthcare provider. Effective communication skills and strong patient-provider relationships typically underpin drug-specific educational interventions due to their invaluable role in fostering systematic organization within the known dimensions of care.

            Drug-specific educational interventions are also all-inclusive and actively seek to identify specific challenges likely to influence non-adherence to treatment recommendations and proposed lifestyle changes. For instance, the integration of a socio-economic dimension to this strategy creates a framework where a primary healthcare provider is aware of potential cost-related impediments and socioeconomic variables likely to hinder the attainment of treatment goals. This would also involve a thorough evaluation of the actual severity and presenting characteristics of a given healthcare condition to determine whether they are likely to influence compliance. The prevailing design of the healthcare system (healthcare provision, prescribers’ follow-up policy, and quality of patient-prescriber quality) are also relevant in drug education programs. They serve as a valuable foundation for assessing the potential benefits of a proposed intervention while also assessing patient’s attitude towards recommended therapy, their health literacy, cognitive state, and level of social support present during treatment.

Cultural Competency Strategies

            Cultural sensitivity and the mainstream adoption of cultural competency strategies in the healthcare sector are one of the most apparent signs of soaring cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity in society. In fact, a recent study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found that 37% of the total American population today consists of ethnic/racial minorities; a figure expected to rise exponentially in the coming decade (Hanno, 2016). Cultural competency, therefore, attempts to create a favorable clinical environment for a culturally diverse population as one of many solutions to healthcare disparities. Awareness of one’s existence, attitudes, thoughts, and the current environment without letting them influence the process of care is entrenched in cultural competency and applied to ensure the healthcare provider provides care parallel to the client’s culture. Cultural competency creates a system where healthcare providers are constantly aware of their conduct while demonstrating an in-depth understanding of the client’s culture while respecting any existing differences.

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            Cultural competency strategies, such as providing translators, and considering clients’ health literacy capacity, cultural traditions, and cultural assumptions, are all integrated with the sole aim of modifying care to line up with a patient’s culture. Patients are often known to express higher levels of satisfaction, comfort, and reassurance when receiving care from healthcare providers who speak their language. Language is particularly crucial when patients are about to give consent for a medical procedure to avoid to a scenario where patients are subjected to certain medical procedures against their will. Additionally, strategies such as understanding a patient’s health literacy levels also align with cultural competency. This strategy is geared toward creating a system where healthcare providers are conscious of patients’ cultural and racial backgrounds and whether they understand the actual relevance of certain healthcare practices. Furthermore, considering pre-existing cultural assumptions and attitudes towards healthcare creates a system where healthcare providers offer their services ethically.

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Elements of Change Management Impacting Patient Experience

            While patient experience is frequently considered to be subjective, change management also has a direct and profound influence on patients’ attitudes towards the provision of high-quality and patient-centered care. Care coordination typically strives to create a safe and efficient healthcare environment devoid of adverse events likely to risk the overall wellbeing of patients. The principles of care coordination, thus, champion a greater focus on a meticulous and well-designed healthcare system that is timely and addresses the specific needs of a target population. It is also noteworthy to acknowledge that care coordination also seeks to create a favorable healthcare environment for patients, healthcare providers, and payers while addressing major obstacles in healthcare linked to national healthcare disparities. Ultimately, care coordination endeavors to address the challenges introduced by a disjointed healthcare system devoid of any clarity in essential services such as referral programs to designated primary care experts or a stable structure for appointments

Coordinated Care Plans and Ethical Decision-Making 

            Coordinated care plans are structured around the notion that healthcare providers bear the ethical obligation of providing ethically-structured care to their respective patients.  Normally, this process is ordinarily preceded by healthcare providers’ awareness of their role in guaranteeing patient wellbeing while establishing and agreeing on their responsibility in such scenarios.  Ethical decision-making should, therefore, entail a clear and candid discussion on recommended treatment plans while also striving to share such knowledge. Coordinated care plans should also encompass a structure that actively seeks to promote transition in care while evaluating and implementing patients’ individual needs and wishes (McClean, 2017). 

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Apart from its importance as a central tenet in ethical decision-making, the reasonable implications of coordinated care plans also have often included the potential to improve the efficiency of frontline healthcare providers across the board. Although the actual implementation and application of coordinated care plans is a highly sophisticated process, it remains relevant today given its importance in maintaining high standards of care in medical practice.

Potential Impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Outcomes and Patient Experience

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 is, arguably, one of the most impactful healthcare policies enacted in the United States. As a comprehensive change in healthcare policy, Affordable Care Act sought to provide affordable health insurance to vulnerable cross-sections of the society by creating a Special Enrollment Period clause, boosting innovative medical care, and expanding the Medicaid program. Yet, it is crucial to note that Affordable Care Act was bound to have a profound impact on patient outcomes and their experience within a clinical setting.

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One of the most notable impacts of Affordable Care Act was boosting the fact that it played a central role in improving access to healthcare among vulnerable and previously uninsured members of society. Patel & West (2016) notes that the number of senior citizens who ordinarily skipped medical appointments due to limited access dropped to 24% between 2011 and 2018; a feat widely attributed to a significant reduction in the cost of healthcare services.  One of the logical future implications of widespread and continued implementation of this program is higher levels of access to healthcare among historically uninsured persons and subsequent consistent implementation of healthcare coverage for posterity.

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