How Do I Get All of My Doctors to Communicate?
Primary care, specialists, hospital staff, surgeons...When you have a health care incident, how do you make sure they all get the right information?
One of the first questions I hear when entering a new client's hospital room is, "How do I make sure all of my physicians/specialists receive information about my stay here?" In today's complicated medical environment it can be very difficult to unify your medical team and make sure they are all communicating and receiving important information regarding your care.
Why It's Important for Providers to Stay in Contact...
First of all, does it matter if they all know every detail? Yes. Lack of communication between your team of medical providers can lead to many risks. These include:
* Medication management mix ups
* Increased stress levels on your part due to repeated conversations and confusing appointments
* Lapses in scheduling between providers and avoidance of duplicating procedures
* Uncertainty about which provider is in charge of what and which tasks have been completed
* Missed symptoms
* Not always understanding medical terminology used by physicians and their staff can lead to mix ups when we try to communicate information between them ourselves
* Hearing issues can lead to many long and frustrating phone calls
* Advocating for yourself when you are not feeling well and your family is already stressed can be very difficult
Bringing in a specialized care management provider (like Southern Arizona Home Care) can remove all of these problems and allow you and your family to focus on your well-being, while also making sure information is flowing to those who need it for your future care.
What Outcomes Should I Expect from Coordinated Care Management?
* Your care plan should more accurately reflect your needs, values, and preferences regarding the tradeoffs between benefits and risks of treatment options. Fully understanding your options and being able to choose them rather than accepting what is chosen for you makes a big difference in your care outcomes.
* Care coordination should span not only communication between care teams, but also financial and insurance issues, social welfare support, and possibly palliative care. Covering all aspects of you as a person makes for better outcomes long term.
* Is your care plan captured digitally and easily provided to members of the team? Digitally tracking progress and providing data and feedback long term helps all members of the team reach their care goals.
* Are you able to access and digest the information that is part of your plan? If you don't get it, what use is it?
How to Spot a Team-Oriented Caregiver Agency
We have all heard the saying, "There is no I in TEAM." When searching for a TEAM to help your family navigate the healthcare system, make sure there are existing plans for communicating with you and your family. Agencies that focus on open communication and providing information freely can help to made interactions with you and your family much less tedious. (Open communication regarding your care with those people you want part of your care is our main goal!)
Word of mouth is huge! Can they provide references from other families proving the track record for efficient and effective teamwork? (Our clients love to talk about our fantastic care, ask us for referrals today!)
Do they provide an online portal through which your family and your outside physicians can access information regarding your current care and health status? (Southern Arizona Home Care utilizes the Family Portal through ClearCare's online cloud application, accessible to all those you want to have access.)