Alan H. Rosenstein, MD, MBA
Internist and Medical Consultant
for Healthcare Management
San Francisco, CA
The most important thing is to recognize, given the complexities in the environment, that there are many different touch points for the patient. Physicians and care providers, the nurses and care managers and discharge planners and pharmacists, all need to coordinate and have a consistent plan for the patient that everyone is able to understand so they can set the expectations to provide the best possible care and reduce any chance of complications or hospital readmissions.
Determining who leads the care coordination is a critical issue. I've done a lot of work trying to get physicians to understand the importance of communicating and coordinating with their peers and the staff and with the patients and their families. Unfortunately, what happens is when patients get into the hospital they may be taken over by a hospitalist or an intensivist, and they may bring in a cardiologist, a disease specialist, or a surgeon, and everybody is either treating a disease or an organ but somebody has to take responsibility for the overall management of the patient, and that needs to be the primary care physician.
John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.