The concept of Continuum of Care (CoC) has been around for decades, but recent technology solutions utilized in Clinically Integrated Networks (CIN) have changed the way practices can implement services.
At its core, Continuum of Care embodies the care of patients over the course of their entire lives. Depending on the patient, this can begin with prenatal care all the way to end-of life care, and in between can include anything from acute healthcare services to preventative care.
As you can imagine, a patient’s Continuum of Care is constantly evolving as their needs change. To provide effective treatment during their lifetime, care must be coordinated among a variety of providers and facilities. Hence, medical records must be easily accessible in order to advance your Continuum of Care services, provide quality care and ultimately improve your bottom line.
CINs and CoC services go hand in hand
A Clinically Integrated Network (CIN) is designed to provide high-quality care by sharing information between healthcare providers and the patient while reducing costs. According to Medical Economics, successful CINs share information across a network of providers via electronic health records and other digital tools. This seamless and secure movement of data is crucial for improving the quality of patient care and reducing costs.
When healthcare providers can access a patient’s medical history and important documentation at the time and place they need it, it positively impacts the patient’s experience. The American Association for Physician Leadership summarized this point nicely, stating “CINs are positioned to leverage providers’ areas of expertise efficiently across the Continuum of Care to deliver the best quality of care.”
Creating a CIN that functions at peak efficiency doesn’t come without its challenges, but the reward is enabling healthcare providers to communicate with one another so there’s greater coordination throughout the continuum of patient care. It can also be the foundation for physicians wanting to establish an accountable care organization in the future.
Advanced technology used in CINs can improve CoC
Technology solutions such as Happe-Analytics and cloud services can streamline the care process and reduce the resource burden of administrative tasks. A consistent, living health record can capture data from every doctor’s visit and aids in the success of future visits. This patient-centric approach keeps the focus on treatment while reducing the resources needed for proper administrative support.
For example, if a patient visits a hospital, the record of their treatment will follow them to their primary care physician, who can follow the advice of the hospital staff and ultimately reduce the chances of hospital re-admittance. EHRs shared through CINs provide physicians with the critical information they need to provide the best care possible in every life stage or situation.
This is not to say that connecting different EHRs within a CIN is easy. One of the hurdles of creating a CIN is the struggle to connect disparate health information technologies. When different healthcare providers use inconsistent EHR systems, it can appear challenging to integrate them – but it’s not impossible.
Utilizing an Integration-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution from an expert IT partner can help remove these barriers to healthcare data exchange. For instance, Happe-Xchange from Tangible Solutions can help a network plan, develop and implement an integrated data strategy. This allows CINs to connect their EHRs seamlessly, so the system can fulfill its role as the backbone of physician data sharing.
How CoC impacts the bottom line
Investing in a CIN with a focus on Continuum of Care and the relevant technology solutions can have a direct, positive impact on a practice’s bottom line. High-performing CINs are proactive in driving patient engagement by prioritizing their overall care experience from start to finish, regardless of which facility or practitioner a patient is seeing.
Sharing information through optimized IT infrastructure can also reduce some of the costs associated with patient care. When patient data is difficult to receive or not updated properly, it can impede a physician’s decision-making and affect the quality of care they provide. The seamless flow of medical records and communication between healthcare providers in a CIN mitigates costly duplicate procedures and hospital re-admittance.
Maybe one of the most appealing aspects of a CIN in relation to Continuum of Care is an improvement in reimbursement rates. Not only are CINs improving patient outcomes by promoting integrated communication, but they can yield better reimbursement rates from value-based incentive programs like MIPS.
Enhancing Continuum of Care means a more consistent experience for patients, which could make them more loyal to a specific practice. Building a culture focused on patient engagement can help physicians retain patients and improve compliance rates, thus avoiding risks to earned revenue.
Continuum of Care is constantly changing thanks to advances in technology. EHR systems and cloud support give physicians new tools to engage patients for a lifetime. CINs that prioritize Continuum of Care improve patient health, reduce resource strain and improve practice revenue.
A partner like Tangible Solutions can help your practice reach its full potential with premier healthcare technology. Contact us today to learn more.