Health Care Delivery
Care coordination in the primary care practice involves deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a patient's care to achieve safer and more effective care.
The main goal of care coordination is to meet patients' needs and preferences in the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care. This means that the patient's needs and preferences are known and communicated at the right time to the right people, and that this information is used to guide the delivery of safe, appropriate, and effective care.
There are two ways of achieving coordinated care: using broad approaches that are commonly used to improve health care delivery and using specific care coordination activities.
Examples of broad care coordination approaches include:
Examples of specific care coordination activities include:
Care coordination is identified by the Institute of Medicine as a key strategy that has the potential to improve the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the American health care system. Well-designed, targeted care coordination that is delivered to the right people can improve outcomes for everyone: patients, providers, and payers.
Although the need for care coordination is clear, there are obstacles within the American health care system that must be overcome to provide this type of care. Redesigning a health care system in order to better coordinate patients' care is important for the following reasons:
Applying changes in the general approach and everyday routines of a medical practice can be overwhelming, even when it is obvious that the changes will improve patient care and provider efficiency. Fortunately, there are resources available for those who are interested in learning how to take a coordinated care approach to primary care practice.
AHRQ has assembled a collection of care coordination resources to help clinicians, clinical teams, and health care administrators measure care coordination and learn more about how to incorporate care coordination into routine primary care practice. These resources include:
The following AHRQ Annual Conference presentations on care coordination are also available: