Brookings recently examined the challenges New York-based provider Family Health ACO faced in implementing care coordination strategies and noted the significance of patient navigators:
Using patient navigators to improve care management is instrumental to coordinated care. Family Health now employs over 171 staff to deliver care coordination services for patients inside and outside of the ACO, including psycho-social care managers, patient navigators, health coaches, and advocates. Patient navigators are embedded on care teams, and help coordinate care for highly complex patients, including scheduling appointments, arranging home-based services or transportation, providing medication reminders, and ensuring that no patients ‘fall through the cracks.’
Not “falling through the cracks” is a succinct and apt description of what it is care coordinators really do and why they are important to hospitals and health systems.