Coordinated Care Lacking in the US, but Greater EMR Adoption May Help

A report commissioned by the Commonwealth Fund found that primary care physicians in the US are often left in the dark about changes to their patients care plan from specialists or when their patients visit an emergency department.

Authors of the study surveyed primary physicians in 10 high-income countries to learn how well patient care is coordinated. The findings found that the lack of coordinated care in the US is related to the lack of comprehensive use of electronic health records.

Due to the Affordable Care Act, adoption of electronic medical records in primary care offices is increasing at a tremendous rate. The report found more than two-thirds of primary care offices use EMRs in 2012, up from 46 percent in 2010.

Efforts to promote greater coordination of care in the US through electronic health records and increased used of interprofessional care could help improve health outcomes for patients with complex medical needs.

In coordination with leadership from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Health Council is working to expand interprofessional health care teams with a program called Education 2 Practice.

Combining education and practice environments in an interprofessional way is essential to helping provide more comprehensive care teams. Interprofessional care helps patients receive care in a more comprehensive manner by providing health professionals a framework on which to structure patient care across multiple professions.

Advanced versions of interprofessional care teams, like Cherry Street Health Services’ Durham Clinic, depend on a common electronic medical record to direct and coordinate patient care. Through this type of patient engagement, patients with complex, chronic conditions become more informed and active patients and can achieve much better health outcomes.

Download the full report from the Commonwealth Fund here.