Care coordination is a process that ensures a patient’s health services and information sharing preferences and needs are met. Care coordination, a critical component during the nation’s current shift from a fragmented system toward one that stresses accountability and continuity, is primarily accomplished by people as opposed to technology. This demands effective collaboration between the providers and organizations caring for each individual patient as opposed to service delivery from numerous providers.

In a new report, Laying a Foundation for Care Coordination: The Role of Health IT, the eHealth Initiative (EHI) describes ways public and private sectors can use health IT infrastructure to support care coordination. It also explores the functions and qualities required to achieve this vision.

The report presents a set of unified principles, which may be considered when implementing health IT to ensure it is effective in supporting care coordination. It also identifies four primary components of effective care coordination that necessitate health IT support including information sharing, team-based care, and care plans, along with information and service organization.

Health IT implementation should incorporate the following key principles to effectively support care coordination:

  1. Information should be accessible to all involved in the individual’s care.
  2. Technology should facilitate patient and care team member trust.
  3. Technology should provide actionable, timely, and customizable information.
  4. Technology should support the relationship between patient and caregiver or clinician.
  5. eTools and health IT should support a personalized and proactive care plan.
  6. Technology should facilitate successful care coordination by means of numerous healthcare system linkages.
  7. Technology should make clinical workflow efficient.

The report highlights critical HIT functions required to facilitate care coordination components along with concrete steps that policy makers, industry representatives, and others may use as a starting point to advance electronic health information system capability and support improved care coordination.

To read or download the full report, click here (PDF).