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Care Coordination, the Army Way

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2011

Thanks to research from our Intelligence Unit, we know that care coordination is one of the top strategic challenges for healthcare leaders. It's difficult, time-consuming, and while it's unquestionably good for the patient, the details of bringing together disparate sites of care and the practitioners who operate them are intimidating both from a cultural and financial standpoint.

You won't find many senior healthcare leaders who will argue that better care coordination is essential to solving some of the cost and overutilization issues in healthcare. But for the individual hospital or system, making the investments to ensure better coordination involves expensive infrastructure improvements. These come in the form of information technology investments, higher labor costs in the form of care coordinators, and often, investments in partnerships or ownership in primary care, rehab, hospice, skilled nursing or a host of other possible sites of care.

It's a huge commitment, and those choices have to be made in an environment where return on investment for the organization is unclear—even though it's positive for society as a whole. Making these types of high-dollar, high-transformation decisions could spawn multiple career-limiting events. That's not the kind of risk-return ratio that most hospital executives are willing to undertake. But what if you could eliminate some of the variables?

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