Care Coordination is increasingly recognized as fundamental to the success of healthcare systems and improved patient outcomes. Poorly coordinated care regularly leads to unnecessary suffering for patients, as well as avoidable readmissions and emergency department visits, increased medical errors, and higher costs. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that a potential opportunity of $240 billion in savings would result from care coordination initiatives such as patient education and the development of new provider payment models.1
People with chronic conditions and multiple co-morbidities—and their families and caregivers—often find it difficult to navigate our already complex healthcare system. As this ever-growing group transitions from one care setting to another, its members are more likely to suffer the adverse effects of poorly coordinated care. Incomplete or inaccurate transfer of information, poor communication, and a lack of follow-up care can lead to poor outcomes, such as medication errors.2 Effective communication within and across the continuum of care will improve the quality and affordability of our system.
NQF has undertaken several projects to provide guidance and measurement of care coordination, including a 2006 project that yielded an endorsed definition and framework for care coordination, a 2010 project through which 25 Preferred Practices and ten performance measures were endorsed, and, most recently, a project completed in 2012 through which twelve performance measures were endorsed.
In its role as the convener and a Partner of the National Priorities Partnership (NPP), NQF supports the priorities and goals put forth in HHS’s 2011 National Quality Strategy, which include:
- Making care safer;
- Ensuring person- and family-centered care;
- Promoting effective communication and coordination of care;
- Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment of the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease;
- Working with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living; and
- Making quality care more affordable.
NPP has further emphasized the following areas within the above priorities: preventable admissions and readmissions; care transitions; patient experience of care coordination; and the importance of cultural and linguistically appropriate resources and services, and communication to support patient self-management.
Related NQF Work
For more information regarding the Care Coordination project, please contact Wunmi Isijola at 202-783-1300 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 IOM, Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven health Care: The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes: Workshop Serious Summary, Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2010.
2 “Reducing and Preventing Adverse Drug Events to Decrease Hospital Costs,” 2001, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, March, 2001.