Care coordination involves optimally organizing patient care and information-sharing activities. This means that the patient's needs and preferences are known ahead of time and communicated at the right time to the right people, and that this information is used to provide safe, appropriate, and effective care to the patient. Coordination among health care providers improves outcomes for everyone by decreasing medication errors, unnecessary or repetitive diagnostic tests, unnecessary emergency room visits, and preventable hospital admissions and readmissions—all of which together lead to higher quality of care, improved health outcomes, and lower costs.
The Institute of Medicine identifies care coordination as a key strategy that has the potential to improve the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the American health care system. And the National Quality Strategy calls all stakeholders to promote effective communication and coordination of care across the health care system by focusing on three long-term goals:
AHRQ offers tools, research, and data on care coordination.