Roland says she and her team have learned that it's worth it to spend time upfront with patients, getting to know them and understanding the very personal barriers that they face when it comes to staying healthy.
"We've done studies," she says. "Patient outcomes are improved when you take that one-on-one time."
It's not only Mercy Health's studies that point to the benefits of care coordination. In June 2012, the ANA released a white paper called "The Value of Nursing Care Coordination," which examined recent reports and studies about care coordination and the role of RNs.
For example, one study cited found that care coordination leads to better care at a lower cost, particularly for populations with multiple health and social needs.
Care coordination also got a boost from a new Medicare rule that will pay nurses when they help patients make the successful transition from hospitals to other settings. The rule calls for paying RNs for services that aim to manage patients' transitions from hospitals to other settings and to prevent complications and conditions that cause hospital readmissions. It creates new payment codes for care coordination activities performed by RNs.
"Other organizations are catching onto care coordination," Roland says. "This is the missing link in healthcare."