Coordinated Care Still Needs Some Work

While coordinated care is widely considered the best way to keep costs down and provide better patient care and is a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, too often care coordination isn't really happening according to a story produced by Kaiser Health News in collaboration with the Washington Post.

Kaiser Health News quotes leading health policy analyst Lucian Leape: "nobody is responsible for coordinating care." According to the story, lack of coordination is resulting in an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths from medical errors annually. This, despite health care's strong response to the landmark Institute of Medicine report, To Err Is Human, published in 1999. That study was the subject of an INQRI blog carnival in 2010, featuring posts from several INQRI-funded researchers.

There is good news, however -- an article HealthLeadersMedia, published earlier this week indicates that nurses have the skills and experience provide effective and successful coordinated care. According to sources in the article, nurses' experience at the bedside - caring for multiple patients and handling their varying needs - makes them uniquely suited to understand and provide coordinated care.

Several INQRI teams have investigated how nurses' contribute to improved care coordination, especially in times of transition from hospital to home.