The Importance of Care Coordinators and Why Every Member Has One
By Radley Griffin, M.D.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a personal assistant to take care of all the administrative minutiae of our lives? To tell us where to be at what time, how much it will cost, and what’s expected from us?
We believe this is a big missing piece in healthcare today.
Too often you get home from a doctor’s appointment and think, Wait, what was I supposed to do next? Was I supposed to call that specialist, or do they call me? Do I have the phone number? Does my insurance cover it — and if not, what then?
It can be incredibly difficult to navigate the medical world, especially for patients dealing with a difficult diagnosis.
For this reason, every member of our practice receives a dedicated patient care coordinator as an integral part of their Griffin Concierge Medical care team.
What Is a Patient Care Coordinator?
Many of us have been in a doctor’s office nodding and agreeing with the plan, only to realize afterward that we can’t remember half of what they said.
On top of that, the medical world can be tricky, and every specialist referral or new test comes with its own weight of administrative tasks. It’s a lot to keep track of!
This is where patient care coordinators come in.
A patient care coordinator is like a personal assistant for your healthcare. They’re experts at navigating the healthcare industry’s murky waters and handling all the administrative details related to your medical needs.
What Do Patient Care Coordinators Do for Members?
One of the biggest benefits a patient care coordinator provides is removing obstacles between members and their care.
Many times, patients want to move forward with specialist appointments, important testing, etc., but the difficulties involved in setting these up provides friction that keeps people from following through.
For example, after 45 minutes on hold with a specialist office, a busy patient may get frustrated or interrupted and hang up. Then they might forget to call back for a while. When they eventually make an appointment, their original condition could be significantly worse than when they started.
Patient care coordinators take on this work and frustration on behalf of our members. In fact, we find that members who have a patient care coordinator tend to take better care of their health because there’s no more friction in the process. All members have to do is show up when it’s time to be there.
Our patient care coordinators handle:
- Scheduling in-office appointments.
- Scheduling out-of-office appointments, including out of state.
- Sending records for out-of-office appointments.
- Appointment reminders.
- Communicating test results to members.
- Reminding members when they’re due for diagnostic testing (e.g., mammogram or colonoscopy).
- Coordinating with area hospitals and medical facilities (where we intentionally form relationships so our members are treated like VIPs).
- Providing a gentle nudge when members need to schedule or reschedule appointments or tests.
Having a patient care coordinator to help you schedule appointments and recommended tests can be vital to your health. A timely reminder could be the difference between finding something important — like cancer — early, and finding it much later after many delays.
Why Are Patient Care Coordinators Vital to Our Practice?
We take pride in spending the time to get to know our members and fostering a close physician-patient relationship. This helps us form a full, long-term view of each member’s health so we notice right away if something seems off.
The team we have in place for each of our members is what makes this possible, and patient care coordinators are a crucial part of that team. They take on the “dirty work” of the myriad administrative details, freeing up our physicians’ time to focus exclusively on their patient.
Patient care coordinators work closely with members, developing a relationship of trust that facilitates top-quality care. They also work closely with physicians to understand precisely what type of support each member needs.
Hidden Benefits of Patient Care Coordinators
Patient care coordinators play a critical role in the health of our members and the success of our practice. We can’t overemphasize how crucial we consider them both in our office and in medicine in general.
Patient care coordinators will be there to remind you to keep up with your health plan, whether that means scheduling your appointments, making it to your appointments, or removing obstacles in the next step of your health journey.
A dedicated patient care coordinator frees you up to live your life, focus on your health, and keep your medical to-do list in good shape.