By Jo Freeman, Director of Marketing and Ryan Atkinson, Digital Marketing Specialist, Lumeon

Picture this: You’re back in the summer of 2003. It’s time for that annual road trip to your family’s favorite vacation spot. The beach chairs are in the back of the ’96 Volkswagen. You’re all packed and ready to go. You think, “This will be a special vacation. I’m so excited!”

“Do you have the route?” you hear your dad ask your mom as he pulls out of the driveway.

“Yep. Right here.” your mom says as she pulls out the 40×28 paper map.

After a while, you hear your dad say: “I think we took the wrong road. The road ahead is closed! Now, where do we go?!?!?”

How could your family get lost – you had a map?

Fast forward to 2022. You have a GPS that suggests routes for you – shortest, fastest, most scenic – and it dynamically adjusts in real-time to changes along the way to ensure you get to your destination as quickly and safely as possible.

No matter how many different routes you take, roadblocks, or accidents on the way, the GPS will get you back on the best course.

Unfortunately, in healthcare, we have maps in the form of care pathways, protocols, and guidelines, but there isn’t a GPS. For the most part, for any given treatment, condition, or procedure, it’s a standardized or prescriptive approach – like a paper map. And while we employ automation and technology in almost every other part of our lives, much of the healthcare delivery process is still fraught with manual tasks and activities. It’s time to ditch the map!

Like a GPS, the approach needed in healthcare is to leverage data, apply real-time clinical intelligence and automate as much of the patient’s journey as possible. We call this care orchestration.

Here are three ways provider organizations can implement a GPS for care delivery and more effectively orchestrate care so that the right care is delivered to the right patient at the right time – every time:

1. The best path

While one family may like to stop at every museum on their road trip, another may seek the “best burger in town.” No matter the case, not all families have the same path to reach their destination.

The same can be applied to patients. Today, healthcare delivery often takes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – like a paper map – but some patients may need more care, and some may need less. Some have underlying or comorbid conditions, while others are low-risk, care can be standardized, and they can be fast-tracked.

With care orchestration, patients have an individualized plan of care. By automating tasks, events, and workflow, patients are guided along their care journey efficiently and effectively. Care teams are released from the burden of administrative tasks and manual interventions unless they are needed for a specific patient at a particular time.

2. Dynamic personalization

When traveling with a GPS, it quickly adjusts your path in real-time while considering things like traffic, road construction, more scenic routes, etc. – at the same time accounting for personal preferences, environmental, and road conditions.

Like most care pathways, paper maps are outdated as soon as they are printed. Today, most health systems operate with a paper-map approach. Patients wait to have their path adjusted, based not on real-time information but by clinical and administrative staff making decisions on information that has occurred in the past and static information, like a paper map.

With a GPS approach to care orchestration, the patient’s path can adjust automatically based on real-time information, such as lab results, medications, and other comorbid conditions. A paper map requires you as the traveler to identify and choose an optimal route, and that route doesn’t dynamically adjust when things don’t go as planned but requires manual intervention by you to stay on track. With a GPS approach to care delivery, the patient’s route through the healthcare system is smooth and efficient, without manual interventions except when it is most needed.

3. Consistent and predictable outcomes

Imagine you are traveling with a group of friends, and each has their own vehicle and their own route preferences based on the paper map. While you all want to get to the same destination, each vehicle takes a different route. As a result, some make it to the destination safely and on time, while others wander off course and take hours or days longer to get to the destination. And some get lost completely trying to follow the paper map. It’s frustrating and time-consuming for everyone on the trip.

However, if everyone used a GPS, each vehicle would take a consistent route to the destination, which dynamically adjusts based on road conditions, enabling your entire party to arrive at the same time, in the same way. When everyone chooses their own route with a paper map, the routes are inconsistent and unpredictable.

By employing a GPS approach to care delivery, the patient’s journey is consistently executed with predictable and reliable outcomes – leveraging real-time data, decision support and automation. No longer will you require humans to alter pathways for a cohort of patients or an individual. Care orchestration determines the right path, for the right patient, at the right time so that optimal outcomes are achieved consistently, reliably, and as predicted, with little or no manual intervention.

It’s time to change the game.

Your care teams are burnt out and stressed, and you don’t have enough human resources to deliver optimal outcomes for every patient, all the time, despite best intentions. At the same time, patients don’t want to be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach and crave a personalized approach.

With dynamic and automated care orchestration, you can deliver the right care, for the right patient, at the right time – every time.

Just as paper maps didn’t disappear overnight, manual care delivery won’t either, but the human interventions and human touch will be reserved for those patients that need it most. Automated care orchestration enables you to deliver care faster, more efficiently, and effectively while allowing your care teams to operate at the top of their license.

Learn more about how your team can start to orchestrate care here.

Guide to Care Orchestration