Too often care coordination is considered to be something that only happens to be between professional members of a healthcare team. Yet, we know that most healthcare happens at home and in the community. Who is the first person to notice that a grandparent is doing poorly? Or, who is the one caring for a sick child around the clock?
Family members and friends are not only the most common ‘first responders’ in sickness and accidents, but also the people that take care of us as we battle an illness or recuperate. We know best what our body usually feels like when either healthy or sick and therefore noticing something that feels significantly outside of the norm.
This being the case, any care coordination team that doesn’t include authorized family members or friends of the patient is not a complete care team. Recognition of this issue leads to the real question; how can family/friends of the care team be kept on the same page as the professional healthcare team, and how can they best contribute their observations?
In years gone by, technologies enabling everyone to get on the same page simply didn’t exist. It was just too hard to get every piece of information each healthcare professional had about a patient into the hands of family and friend caregivers. However, technology usually leads societal trends by making the formerly impossible, possible. Ubiquitous cloud computing, ubiquitous mobile devices and ubiquitous sensors, as well as the increasingly exchangeable nature of medical data by electronic transfer standards such as HL7 Standards http://www.hl7.org/implement/standards/ have changed the game.
It’s commonly known we tend to do more for people we love than we do for ourselves. That desire to care and attend personally for our loved ones, no matter what it takes, should be harnessed and channeled through being an essential member of a Care Coordination team.
So as a patient, how can you get on the same page as your professional care team members?
The best way is also the one that is going to take the most effort – and the most rewarding step you can take to coordinate and understand your or your loved ones’ care regime and what’s happening. Please work with us on this, it’s why we exist as a company. Let us help you load up historical paper data, electronic data feeds when available, as well as any devices or sensors used by the patient in question.
Now that you have the data at your fingertips, invite your care team members one by one to the Diary. If they don’t accept it first time, persist, politely but firmly – because this is going to help you manage the health of your grandparent, child, or yourself to an exponentially higher level than before. Healthcare professionals don’t have a visual tool like the Lifetime Health Diary, so they’ll be pleasantly surprised to see a complete life ‘Health Story’. Physicians think in stories themselves, and the Diary will help them do that.
We want to hear your experiences and outcomes as you go along. Technology is allowing us ‘regular people’ a way to take charge of our health, let’s not let the opportunity go to waste.