The Orthopaedic Surgeon and Care Coordination

Why should orthopaedists care about coordination of medical care? It is about teamwork which provides efficient and quality care for patients. It can keep referral sources happy and patients coming through the door. Care coordination can optimize patient outcomes with fewer return calls, office visits, or readmissions. For some specialized practices, the cost vs. benefit of care coordination may not be apparent, but patient and health care reform demands may give a competitive advantage to those practices which recognize this component of providing “patient-centered care.”

Increasing specialization of medicine has fragmented the physician-patient relationship. The evolution of integration in medical care moved through the gatekeeper model into the medical home model (care coordinator) and now to the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, which is evolving into the patient-centered medical home neighborhood (PCMH-N) model.

For optimal musculoskeletal care, should there be a patient-centered musculoskeletal home? Based on the current requirements for certification of a PCMH by National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), most orthopaedists would not be prepared or interested in the responsibilities of a PCMH. An alternative for specialists is to add value to the health care team by participating as a neighbor in the PCMH-N model.

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