A new report from Chilmark finds that hospitals and other healthcare providers are not ready to provide coordinated care for patients. This is not a surprise to any consumer who has been to the hospital or doctor’s office recently.
Matthew Guldin, lead analyst for the report, gave this wonderfully blunt description of the current state of care plans:
“Care plans in use today are most often a compilation of disparate inputs from clinicians and a modicum of evidence-based medicine that rarely includes a 360-degree patient view. Coupling these shortcomings with a lack of digital enablement, care plans are the weak link in the care management process.”
Chilmark describes the challenge as “automating communication processes and other workflows across disparate provider organizations, and providing patients and their caregivers access to the care plan.” The analysts predict that it will be two to three years, before any vendors will have this figured out.
The hospital administrators sending out RFPs for these new care plan systems should take the very widest perspective possible when building the system. Care plans will be the most helpful to providers and patients if these documents pull in as much data as possible.
If a person gets a flu shot at Target, that should be included. If a parent takes his kid to a grocery store clinic for an ear infection, that prescription for antibiotics should be in the record. If a person participates in a diabetes risk management program at work, that should be in there too.
Self-insured employers and other at-risk entities would benefit from this kind of unified record as well. If an employer or wellness plan gives out trackers, they would want to see that data in the care plan.
The key is to make it simple. Remember Google reader? That tool offered a simple way to keep track of a lot of information from many sources. Users curated their own news and information collection using RSS feeds. Instead of carrying around a paper binder full of medical records, a patient could have a collection of data feeds that reflect her healthcare history. The patient could share the entire collection or only parts of it with family members and providers.
If we are building a new care plan system and hoping entrepreneurs will help, hospital administrators should think big and still keep it simple.