In an effort to drive down readmissions, many hospitals, clinics and healthcare systems have established the role of care coordinator to guide patients through the system and keep care programs on track.
But what a care coordinator is and what a care coordination team should look like may mean different things at different organizations.
Some are asking care coordinators to be interdisciplinary chimeras with the clinical knowledge of a registered nurse, the people skills of a social worker, the organization and planning ability of a personal assistant and a heart of gold to boot.
Unless you are very lucky, you probably won't find an entire team of people who all have those skills. So rather than focusing on a handful of exceptionally talented people, it makes more sense to hire a diverse team from varying backgrounds.
"A care coordination team is multidisciplinary. It's not just one person or one role," says Nancy Skinner, president of the Case Management Society of America and Riverside Healthcare Consulting. "Nurses and social workers have a professional background that brings the [clinical] knowledge that is necessary to begin a path to be a care coordinator… We have typically put people in this role because of the initials after their name. We can't do that anymore—we have to look at the capabilities of the person moving into that role," she says.