The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines orchestration as “harmonious organization”. This makes sense when we think of an actual orchestra. If the musicians are on the same page, the music is inspiring, tells a story, elicits emotion. But if the musicians are not in sync, it sounds like loud noise, and it is not impactful for the audience. A similar thing can happen in healthcare, but with much more significant consequences. That is why healthcare organizations need Care Orchestration
Medicine has evolved, and with it, so has the way clinicians care for patients. Clinical practice is becoming more collaborative, with interdisciplinary teams providing comprehensive, individualized care. This is great for patients, in the sense that they have multiple clinicians with specialized knowledge and skills focusing on each aspect of their health to give them the best treatment possible.
However, it creates a challenge: there are now more clinicians that need to be on the same page. Ideally, each clinician on the team has real-time access to the most up-to-date treatment plan and test results so they can make well informed decisions and provide the best care to their patients.
The problem is that while this interdisciplinary approach has changed, the processes and technologies clinicians use haven’t been redesigned to meet their new workflow needs. EHRs are great for the business of healthcare, such as billing, coding, and storing patient information. We cannot expect billing and coding technologies to aid workflow. Unfortunately, that is often all clinicians are given.
Clinicians know these aren’t the right tool for the job, so they find ways to workaround the functionality gaps, commonly using paper, word documents, or other unsecured methods to manage their work.
Rather than solving the workflow issues, these workarounds often create new challenges for clinicians – such as spending significant time transcribing notes into the appropriate places in the EHR and a lack of access to real-time updates on the patient’s condition. In addition to being incredibly inefficient, the workarounds have the potential to cause patient harm. Paper workarounds – which are used much more frequent than you might expect in the 21st century – often contain information that is three to six hours out of date. Imagine trying to make a life or death decision based on that. That is not the level of care we want for our loved ones, and certainly not the level of care clinicians want to give. Without the proper tools, they are doing the best with what they have – the EHR.
Care Orchestration Makes the EHR Easier to Use
This is where care orchestration comes into play. Care orchestration is a strategy to connect people, data, workflows, and systems to improve outcomes and enable more coordinated care. In addition to more collaborative workflows, technology plays a key role in care orchestration. Care Orchestration Platforms, such as CareAlign, connect to the EHR to give clinicians the functionality that the EHR doesn’t have: two-click access to vitals and labs aggregated into intuitive graphs and trend lines, shared task lists, and the ability to use a dynamic, digital care plan to generate documentation. The platforms should be easily accessible on different devices, provide fast log-ins, protect patient information, be user-friendly so not to add on to the clinician workload, and allow for better collaboration among team members. Care orchestration platforms like CareAlign can streamline workflows, enhance communication, reduce errors, and keep clinicians working in harmony.