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Patient Care Management PCM | Care Management

January 17, 2023

Patient care management is a critical component in any healthcare setting. Effective patient care delivery requires considering varied factors such as the environment, equipment, and practices. Though there may not be one-size-fits-all solutions to these components, certain aspects are common in many healthcare environments.

What is care management?

Care management is a set of services and actions to improve and help patients with chronic or complex conditions and decrease the need for medical services. Care management aims to improve care coordination, reduce hospital visits and boost patient engagement by enhancing coordination of care, reduce duplication, and supporting patients. Physicians, clinicians, patients etc must all work collectively to help patients take charge of their complicated health needs.

Elements of a care management program 

Elements of care management include:

  • Dedicated care team
  • Comprehensive care plan
  • Medication and care-management tools
  • hospital-to-home program
  • Patient education materials
  • Developed communication between patients and healthcare professionals
  • Care coordination with community and home-based service providers

Benefits of care management

Care management benefits include:

  • Improved clinical results
  • Decreased use of high-cost acute care services
  • More primary and/or preventive care visits
  • Less duplicative tests and procedures
  • Higher patient satisfaction

What is patient care management?

A method that reports or enrolls patients to interventions across the continuum of health and illness. It covers wellness exams and routine screenings, utilization reports, event focus, short-term case management, and the management of long-term chronic conditions.

How do you manage patient care?

Patient Care Management is a set of actions designated to promote patient care and decrease the need for medical services by helping patients and caregivers more efficiently handle health conditions.

Patient Care Management Issues in Healthcare

Many issues may affect patient care, but five of the most prevalent problems are featured below.

1. Absence of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Interoperability

The debate about whether a free-market approach to healthcare systems can succeed in the United States will continue for years to come. Many people want healthcare reform that guarantees universal coverage, lower costs, and improved quality. 

Opponents of a capitalist-based system contend that competition between commercial insurers is the problem, not the solution. 

In any case, reliable information technology (IT) systems are essential for modern healthcare delivery, and ineffective IT infrastructure results in poor quality care and inefficient spending/use of resources.

While much progress has taken place in the e-health transition in the US, much remains to be done. Specifically, interoperability is critical in implementing a unified healthcare system to ensure health data exchange among the customers and providers. 

With EHR, the medical care process is digitized, significantly impacting the interaction among medical institutions and healthcare costs. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that EHRs work together.

2. Hand Hygiene

Throughout the 1840s, Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis attempted several times before discovering the connection between children being born with "childbed syndrome" and the doctors who treated them after performing autopsies but without disinfecting their hands. 

Semmelweis's research proved that washing hands with chlorine could kill the bacteria that caused infections, but some physicians were furious because the discovery challenged their approach to patient care. 

People's actions cause most infections that lead to severe complications in healthcare. Preventing infections is as simple as keeping your hands clean. In contrast, studies suggest that healthcare providers, in general, clean their hands less than half the time they should. 

In a hospital, around one of every 31 patients contracts healthcare-associated infections each day. The risk of infection while undergoing other treatment is equally high for patients and healthcare providers. A healthcare facility such as a hospital or nursing home must prevent germs from spreading.

By encouraging healthcare providers to adhere to hand hygiene recommendations, dispelling myths, and empowering patients to take part in their own care by requesting or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands, Clean Hands Count (a campaign by the CDC) aims to raise healthcare provider adherence to hand hygiene recommendations.

3. Adverse Drug Events (ADEs)

In a study conducted on Adverse Drug Events caused by Serious Medication Administration Errors, the incidence of ADEs ranges from 2 per 100 admissions to 7 per 100 admissions at the hospitals that conducted the study.

It is sometimes possible to prevent ADEs, but not always. The United States has a high number of preventable ADEs. According to a study done by Bates et al., medication errors account for 20% of ADEs and are, by definition, preventable. 

Errors in medication management can occur at any point in the medication process, including during the ordering, transcribing, dispensing, administering, or monitoring stages. Many errors occur at the medication administration stage, although they account for 26% of severe medication errors. 

There were 11.5% of administration errors in one study and 3.1% of errors that could potentially harm patients. According to another analysis, 19% of medications administered in 36 hospitals contained an error, and 7% of those errors could harm patients or qualify as possible adverse drug events.

Keeping these numbers in mind is essential because nursing staff and others rarely catch medication administration errors. As a result of the number of doses administered, we cannot rule out adverse effects. 

To prevent ADEs, hospitals must evaluate drugs as a cause of any new symptom, avoid drug-drug interactions, discontinue unnecessary drugs, and address non-adherence

4. Nurse-Patient Ratios

The most common concern in nursing is the number of patients per nurse. When nurses are too busy or have too many patients, they cannot provide the patients' level of care. An overburdened nurse is susceptible to errors and stress, which can lead to the spread of infections.

In teaching hospitals, the ratio recommended is 1:3 nurses to patients and 1:5 in general hospitals with a senior nurse post.

Hospitals should ensure they have enough nurses, along with the necessary equipment and space, to prevent staff burnout

5. Physician Fatigue

All medical teams, especially the physician groups, must maintain the round-the-clock operation with scheduled physicians working in shifts. The physicians devote themselves to providing quality service to the patients, but it is challenging to meet the increasing demands. 

Managing patient care can be stressful when physicians are not getting enough sleep due to insufficient time off. As such, this is an important issue that makes patient care more complicated.

Doctors who are unhappy and fatigued aren't as effective at engaging with their patients. ADEs and medical errors occur when a physician's emotional well-being is compromised, or they are not well-rested.

In the United States today, several healthcare providers are rethinking scheduling and workflows to decrease their stress levels and performance regarding clinical care, patient treatment, and professional development. FloatCare is helping many healthcare providers to improve their lives and work through scheduling, automation of workflows, and electronic health records.

Request a demo today.

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