Developed and written by the AAOS Health Care Systems Committee, the primer describes the policy history and theories of care coordination, the goals of the initiatives around the topic, and potential applications in orthopaedics. According to the primer’s editors—Alexandra E. Page, MD and K. William Kumler III, MD, MBA—the primer is an attempt “to lead the change required to improve the value of orthopaedic care and the services we provide to our patients.”


Published 6/1/2013

AAOS Releases Musculoskeletal Care Coordination Primer

Recent efforts to implement reforms in the delivery of healthcare services have included a focus on coordinated care—the idea that patients will benefit and costs will be reduced when healthcare providers work together, whether through an accountable care organization, a medical home, or a “patient-centered medical home neighborhood.”

“Musculoskeletal care coordination” serves as an umbrella term for the myriad ways orthopaedic surgeons can offer value in these coordinated care models. At the 2013 AAOS Annual Meeting, a new primer focusing on musculoskeletal care coordination was released.

“Whether formally or informally, care coordination will likely be required in future care delivery models,” notes Health Care Systems Committee Chair Craig A. Butler, MD, MBA. The purpose of the primer is to familiarize orthopaedic surgeons with the topic and the efforts being made by payers and policy makers to encourage greater care coordination between providers of physician services to optimize patient quality and also overall healthcare costs.

Medical homes, the primary venue for this type of care coordination, assign a set payment for each patient rather than pay for discrete services provided to patients. The set payment is then shared across all types of providers. The primer describes how this concept may, or may not, fit for the typical orthopaedic surgeon.

“Care coordination, as a concept, is simple and straightforward: provide the right care in the right place, at the right time to achieve the desired outcome. Care coordination in action is potentially as complex and challenging as any other aspect of health care delivery, but boils down to the ‘team’ concept. As long as the ‘team’ performs well and achieves the desired results, all stakeholders will be satisfied,” write the authors.

Musculoskeletal Care Coordination: A Primer for Orthopaedic Surgeons is free for AAOS members and can be downloaded from either the Practice Management Center ( or the Council on Advocacy page in the Government Relations section ( of the AAOS website.

To learn more about the primer and the topic, contact Matthew Twetten, AAOS senior manager of regulatory, quality and medical affairs, at