The United States healthcare system is in the midst of a paradigm shift, transitioning away from a fragmented system in which services are delivered through multiple providers with limited collaboration, towards a model that emphasizes shared accountability and continuity of quality, patient-centered care. A critical component of this transformation is care coordination, which requires effective and consistent collaboration among providers and organizations caring for the individual patient.
Care coordination, a process that ensures that the patient's needs and preferences for health services and information sharing across people, functions, and sites are met over time, is primarily accomplished by people, and is not a technological function. By definition, care coordination is complex and must respond to the needs of individual patients. Health Information Technology (health IT) can be a useful tool to facilitate improved care coordination, as the utilization of electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange (HIE) can provide for the capturing, access to and sharing of real-time patient data among those caring for the patient.
This document describes a vision for how health IT can and should support care coordination, as well as the qualities and functions necessary to achieve that vision.