Puerto Rico's healthcare system has fallen behind. If there is one thing in this world that is priceless, it's your health. As technologies and knowledge evolve, so does the practice of healthcare. Each and every person is different, and although one may seemingly experience the same thing as another person, their needs can be vastly different depending on their situation and support network. This is when coordinated care comes into play.
What Is Coordinated Care?
Coordinated care is the missing link of the healthcare system, and it is the key to an efficiently running healthcare program for an individual. Because of the shortage of Primary Care Physicians in Puerto Rico, patients have a tendency to request an appointment directly with a specialist when something feels wrong, but usually it requires more layers of care to provide a successful patient outcome. Coordinated care is especially valuable for those who require multiple appointments and consultations from different practitioners and clinics. In these cases, several forms of healthcare assistance are needed, and a designated coordinator or team ensures that all of the healthcare services are received from the necessary service providers that are used.
In other words, the responsibility of organizing a team of various healthcare services is centralized. With coordinated care, gone are the days when you were left to your own devices after a doctor's appointment.
With all of this in mind, it's important to note that the most important aspect of coordinated care is YOU. After all, you are the owner and guardian of your own health. Not even the best team of care coordinators can help you if you don't follow up and take ownership of your health. No one can do that screening thyroid ultrasound for you. No one can go and do that sleep study for you. No one can take your daily Vitamin D supplement for you. YOU have to make the call to show up for yourself.
There’s Always Someone in Your Corner
When you have a medical condition, whether it’s a long or short term one, it can start to feel very daunting once you leave the doctor's office. However, with a committed Primary Care Physician and a coordinated care program in place, there is always someone in your corner. There is a dedicated team to assist you with any queries in addition to helping you optimize your healthcare. Beyond this, coordinated care programs can help guide you towards valuable resources in an effort to make managing your health more accessible and efficient.
Issues Within the Current Healthcare System
Keep your expectations low. Unfortunately, there are many downfalls within the current healthcare system in general, but especially in Puerto Rico. Issues spanning from miscommunication, referral misunderstanding, and a general lack of specialist availability are just a few of the pain points. In the absence of coordinated care, a lack of knowledge in regard to patient background means that the very best form of healthcare isn’t always received, leading to patient frustration. Coordinated care seeks to solve many of these problems.
Can Coordinated Care Really Save Your Life?
In short, yes, coordinated care can most definitely save your life, not to mention a lot of headaches. With an efficient concierge medical program in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that the very best care is being delivered. It’s like a weight off your shoulders. While you continue to live your life, a specialized team is working behind the scenes to manage your primary medical care, organize any necessary appointments or services, and generally ensure that your needs are being supported. Communication is fiercely heightened, and transitions of care run smoothly. This makes a huge difference, particularly in locations where general access and specialized resources may be limited.
The Benefits of Coordinated Care
There are a great number of benefits to coordinated care, and we have listed a few of them below.
- Provides Families with Peace of Mind
Families and friends are put at ease when they know that their loved ones are receiving top-notch healthcare.
- Assessing of Needs
A coordinated care program starts with a thorough assessment of a patient’s needs. This helps to ensure that sufficient healthcare is provided and that nothing is left untreated.
- Strong Communication
With a plan in place to take care of all of your medical needs, communication is key. Coordinated care goes to great lengths to establish a consistent line of communication between all participating medical professionals. Doctors, specialists and other experts are all kept in the loop, making for a streamlined approach to your care.
- Follow-ups and Monitoring
Coordinated care means that you are never on your own. Before and after appointments, there will be someone on hand to follow up. There will be a consistent form of monitoring to ensure that everything is going as expected. If for any reason there are changes in the needs of a patient, there will be someone there every step of the way.
- Medication Assistance
Certain conditions require more complex care or management of medications. This alone can become overwhelming and confusing, to say the least.
- Excellent Teamwork
Most importantly, coordinated care is all about teamwork. This is what makes it so successful. Each professional that delivers an aspect of care to a patient communicates and works with other professionals working in a different sector — every member is working in sync with a complete focus on the care of the patient.
Coordinated care stretches further than simple medical appointments. The designated team also works directly with the patient to put together health and wellness plans. Similar to a hotel concierge whose role is to facilitate coordination of a guest's needs and requests, these care providers help patients get what they need and achieve the goals that they desire.
Any vital aspects of self-care are facilitated by the team of care coordinators assisting the patient. The team also takes into account an array of available resources in an effort to increase the quality of care provided.
The Patient, The Professionals, and The Knowledge
Not only are all of the medical care professionals kept in the loop concerning the patient’s care plan but the patients themselves are also continuously updated. In-depth details about their treatment plans are delivered as soon as they become available.
In coordinated care, knowledge is the secret weapon. It's normal for patients to be confused by all of the medical terminology that is thrown at them, but when you have a team of experts on your side, things become a lot clearer. Any confusion regarding medical conditions, treatment plans, and medication are thoroughly explained so that the patient knows exactly what is going on and when.
Implementing a Coordinated Care Program through Concierge Medicine
Along with the potential to save your life, coordinated care ensures safe practices and higher effectiveness. With sharp lines of communication, healthcare is improved across all sectors. If you find yourself in a position where you require coordinated care, you can be sure that responsibilities relating to your needs are delegated to the necessary professionals — making life that much easier.
In Puerto Rico there are only a few healthcare organizations that offer coordinated care. Pravan Clinic, established in 2017, offers Concierge Medicine and Coordinated Care at a Primary Care Level, including Internal Medicine, Gynecology, Nutrition Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Urgent Care, and a variety of Wellness Services including bodywork and personalized IV fluids. Pravan also refers to a network of outside specialists for services such as lab work, imaging or sub-specialist care.
If you decide that a coordinated care program could benefit you or a loved one, then you’ve come to the right place. The first step is to schedule a tour and orientation to find out if the practice feels like the right fit. A conversation will quickly answer any questions you have and will get you on the right track to organizing the best possible healthcare.