Study Stresses Importance of Care Coordination to Patients' Health, Satisfaction

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<p>When health care is well coordinated, all the health professionals involved in a patient's care work together--sharing medical records, making test results available, and informing the patient about next steps. But new research shows that patients too often do not receive this kind of care.<br><br>A <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=26608&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D453771%26%23doc453771">Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> led by Brandeis University's Jody Hoffer Gittell, Ph.D., and published in <em>Health Services Research,</em> found serious communication breakdowns between health care providers, as well as between providers and patients. In surveying knee-replacement surgery patients, Gittell and colleagues found that the average patient reported problems on 42 percent of coordination of discharge indicators, including not being informed about medication side effects and not knowing what kind of problems to watch for after returning home.<br><Br>Patients who reported coordination problems were more likely to have greater joint pain, lower functioning, and decreased satisfaction six weeks after their knee replacement surgery.<br><br>Improving coordination across the continuum of care, the authors say, will require changes in how providers are rewarded, how performance is measured, and how clinicians are trained.</p>