In a recent interview for Nurse.com, ANA senior director of product development Terri Gaffney had some interesting comments on the current state of care coordination and where it’s headed:
[Care coordination] is something we, as nurses, have always done. But the model of care coordination is evolving along with the broader view of healthcare. Traditionally, we, as nurses, have viewed it from the perspective of the discharge planning process, often from the moment of admission. But now the conversation is about taking our view to a higher level, looking at the different environments in which a patient might receive care.
She also pointed out some of the difficulties with nurses’ roles in care coordination:
Our challenge is to find a way to measure care coordination. Once that care has been appropriately coordinated, how do we break out a nurse’s role in it? We’re having conversations about this with multiple parties and many stakeholders. The complexity of this is amazing, but I think we can find a simple and elegant solution.
It will be interesting to see how nurses’ roles in care coordination changes as the industry evolves. There is no doubt it will continue to be essential, but the need for better data and technology will also be important variables in the equation for effective care coordination, as Gaffney suggests. The combination of skilled and talented resources (especially nurses), “elegant” and efficient processes, and technology that enables the capture and analysis of data (especially outcomes data) will help care coordination expand from a tactical solution to a critical strategy across specialties and for all types of healthcare organizations.