Care models come together

December 1, 2009

Two leading industry groups put their heads together for seemless care

LITTLE ROCK, ARK., AND WASHINGTON-When it comes to cost control, integrated care and improved communication among caregivers are among the most frequently cited needs.

Those needs are at the heart of a collaborative effort between the Little Rock, Ark.-based Case Management Society of America (CMSA) and the Washington, D.C.-based DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance (DMAA). In October, the two industry groups announced the creation of a taskforce that will define the relationship between case management and population health management.

Working together, the organizations plan to develop a consensus statement detailing the interactions between case and population health management strategies and devise a roadmap for quality-based programs for the chronically ill.

Despite the overlap, the two fields have historically acted independently, leading to duplication of services, unnecessary expenses and less than optimal care.

Case management focuses on meeting an individual's comprehensive health needs through assessment, planning, facilitation and coordination of care, according to CMSA. DMAA's definition of population health management emphasizes a central care delivery model led by the primary care physician, patient engagement and personal responsibility and the expansion of care through coordinated programs. While the interventions vary, the groups acknowledge there's a lot of overlap between their functions.

"The two fields are so integrated," says Lattimer. "If you continue to keep them siloed you continue to have a communication breakdown."

By working together, the two organizations will be able to devise more collaborative, coordinated models that translate to better patient care and reduce duplication of services. Until the silos come down, legislation will have little impact, she says.

"Communication isn't all about EMRs," she says. "It's about our processes, our basic communication strategy."