This article originally was published on Healthcare IT News 

By Bill Siwicki

In the health IT world, care orchestration has been called the response to the inability of EHRs to consistently coordinate care for both caregivers and patients. Care orchestration is a concept that uses a platform to unite patient records, automate tasks and prioritize patients.

Care orchestration brings disparate data sources into one source and sorts depending on what clinicians need or request. It brings different departments and ambulatory sources together – test results and imaging can be communicated throughout all the care teams.

Robbie Hughes is CEO of Lumeon, a vendor of care orchestration technology. We interviewed Hughes to talk about how healthcare needs to respond better and faster to the demands of clinicians and patients, and what care orchestration tools can do to help.

  1. What is care orchestration and what technologies does it encompass?
  2. Care orchestration is a technology that has emerged from the need to coordinate care more efficiently and effectively. The goal of care orchestration is to use data and automation to proactively and continuously coordinate the patient and care team as one to ensure that the care delivered is personalized to the needs of the patient, at the same time as substantially reducing the workload on the care team.

As a result, it intertwines predictive analytics to determine which patients to coordinate, clinical decisioning to determine precisely which actions are required for this specific patient, and deep integration and automation to reliably, and in a scalable manner, ensure those actions are carried out – all of this in real time for every patient.

  1. You say healthcare needs to respond better and faster to the demands of clinicians and patients. What is the cause of this from your perspective?
  2. Healthcare has traditionally moved when policy or payment mechanisms have moved. Today we’re in a world where the pace of workforce change and patient needs have moved far faster.

This presents an opportunity for organizations that are able to adapt their model to enable their care team to personalize the care to every patient at scale. In practice this will mean performing less activity and potentially getting reimbursed differently as a result, but in a world where the workforce is unable to cope with the demand, the rate-limiting factor no longer is reimbursement, but delivery.

  1. Care orchestration can bring different departments and ambulatory sources together. How, and how does this help with responding better and faster to the demands of clinicians and patients?
  2. The core to successful orchestration of care is personalization. Specifically, this means that well-orchestrated care needs to account for the fact that it has to bring together siloed departments and processes along a single, patient-centric continuum.

This is harder than it sounds, as that continuum is by definition going to change based on the specifics of the patient. Sometimes departments will be tightly coupled for specific patients, in other cases they would be skipped altogether if it is the right thing to do.

As a result, the ability to personalize the orchestration layer to both the needs of the patient, but also the specifics of how the care team works, is critical: This is not a one-size-fits-all.

  1. How can care orchestration help reduce clinician burnout?
  2. Simply put, by ensuring that the right care is delivered by the right care team members at the right time, every time. This means less administrative overhead through deeper automation of upstream and downstream activity.

This means proactively coordinating and supporting a culture of “get it right the first time” with no repetition due to waste, and this means that every care team member is working on the things that only they work on, reinforcing their licensure and ensuring that we’re validating the reason they got into medicine in the first place.

  1. How can care orchestration make shift changes easier?
  2. The immediate impact of care orchestration is that the care team is always working from a single, consolidated plan with all actions, orders, follow-ups, plans and tasks visible and automatically coordinated, so there is never any ambiguity about what is due, or when, or what the anticipated outcome should be.

From the care team point of view, this means less activity but more action, less documenting but better documentation, and better coordination but less coordinating.

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