The Value of Mobile Care Coordination Part 3

mobile care coordinationCare Team Alignment & Care Coordination

Renee S. Bessette, Vice President of Marketing & Operations
Part 1 of 3Part 2 of 3 – The Value of Mobile Care Coordination

Now that we’ve established secure methods to connect with and communicate among providers, it is important for us to consider how to use mobile tools to align care teams to a patient’s treatment plan and coordinate care in a meaningful manner.

In a 2010 study published in Advances in Patient Safety, it was identified that both doctors and nurses were in complete alignment on the priorities of a patient’s treatment only 12 percent of the time. The study further noted that doctors and nurses communicated with each other verbally for about half their patients, and may have relied on notes written in paper charts and other passive forms of communication for the other half. It is easy to speculate that this can lead to miscommunication, bottlenecks, and other breakdowns in delivering the highest quality care, potentially leading to serious medical errors.

Most providers still carry paper notebooks and take handwritten notes as they make their rounds during work shifts, later transcribing orders into EMRs and other systems. Nurses take notes and check off tasks on clipboards. Other members of a patient’s care team leave messages with requests for each other on text pagers or send emails, both of which leave them waiting for a response. While each method has its merits in personal ease of use or one-to-one communication, they maintain a status quo that lacks a semblance of real-time care team collaboration. Each of these methods carries a high degree of risk for a potential breach of PHI. Should a notebook or clipboard go missing, the Office of Civil Rights could cite this as a HIPAA violation, which carries stiff penalties and public embarrassment.

Breakdowns in care coordination are most likely to occur during hand-offs between hospital providers, which can have disastrous consequences. According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), 80 percent of medical errors are a result of poor communication during patient hand-offs. Poor hand-offs have been linked to delays in treatment, inappropriate treatment, and extended length of stays in hospital. With the pressure on healthcare organizations to provide efficient care and reduce time to discharge, providers and management alike recognize that there needs to be more efficient, provider-friendly, patient-centric methods to support this transformation.

In 2012, the Institute of Medicine highlighted teamwork as a top priority for improvement, suggesting collaboration tools that can help providers share information and coordinate care within and across different care settings. In addition to using secure mobile messaging tools to communicate, healthcare organizations should consider mobile tools that allow providers to manage their own activities in a more patient-centric manner. These tools are similar to project management apps such as Asana or customer relation management (CRM) platforms such as, which allow users to collaborate with others, share current activities and planned actions, and view real-time information. In healthcare, similar tools can be used to share tasks related to each patient, push feeds and alerts to the provider from existing clinical systems, and update patient hand-off summaries – all accessible to a patient’s entire care team via web or mobile apps.

For providers, patient-centric access to information not only improves workflow and encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration; it can also ensure that the entire care team is aligned on patient’s treatment plan. Access to clinical information on the go gives providers the ability to quickly view a patient’s history to see if a lab has or has not been ordered, avoiding duplication in treatment. These tools also provide a more consistent platform for safer hand-offs between providers (especially in academic settings) and care transitions at time of discharge. For the organization’s IT and risk management teams, it provides piece of mind that providers are sharing information in a secure, HIPAA-compliant manner that helps to reduce the risk of breach. By leveraging existing information systems and assets, IT professionals can focus efforts on deploying other large-scale projects.

Care coordination during a patient’s stay in the hospital is of the utmost importance in delivering safe treatment to the patient, and extends to a patient’s entire ecosystem in this new world of integrated delivery networks and ACOs. By leveraging new mobile tools that consolidate communication, collaboration, and real-time information, a patient’s entire care team can make a difference between truly accountable care and a costly readmission within 30 days of discharge.

Renee S. Bessette is the Vice President of Marketing and Operations at Care Thread, a provider of secure mobile messaging and care team collaboration solutions for healthcare providers. She has extensive experience in global marketing, brand management, and educational programs. She previously worked at Honeywell Safety Products and Sperian Protection. Follow Care Thread on Twitter @carethread.