When all Providers are on the same page, patients win. Care continuity and coordination has been linked to improved care outcomes, lower costs and a better overall patient experience.
Building an ongoing patient-Provider relationship requires active involvement. It’s a two-way street that requires constant communication. Here are four ways to start improving continuity of care immediately:
Ask questions. If your patient is seeing other Providers, you need to know. Not all patients are forward about this information – sometimes, they forget – so asking questions can help ensure you’re able to coordinate and provide safe, quality medical care. You should also ask about changes in care such as any hospital admissions as well as emergency or urgent care.
Keep good records. Make sure you and your staff members are documenting any and all changes in care and following protocol. A breakdown in any part of the communication process within your practice can lead to items slipping through the cracks. This is especially true when dealing with complex conditions, which can involve many moving parts.
Make sure to be accessible. Patients value access; they trust that they’ll be able to see you in a timely fashion. If they have to wait weeks for an appointment or spend hours in a reception area, they are likelier to seek care elsewhere – thus resulting in fragmented care. Put safeguards in place to ensure waits are kept to a minimum.
Be clear about follow-up care. If your patients require follow-up observation or care, make sure they have clear instructions and information about any relevant resources, including scheduling future appointments. That way, you make it easier for them to follow through with continued care. You may want to consider reaching out to the patient to ensure that they follow through with any referrals to specialists or other Providers.
Contact the AvMed Provider Services Center at 1-800-452-8633 for more information on transition of care. The Provider Services Center is open from 8:30 p.m to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday (excluding holidays). You can also get in touch with the Center by sending an email to Providers@AvMed.org. More resources can be found at AvMed.org under the Provider section.