How the Pandemic Changed Care Coordination

The first statewide COVID-19 lockdowns began in March, coinciding with several dramatic changes to care coordination activity in states across the country. When healthcare and social services organizations adopted remote working policies, we naturally assumed that virtual care strategies would gain widespread adoption. 

Usage data from the Activate Care platform has shown a sustained increase in these virtual care strategies, even as every state has eased lockdown restrictions and worked to regain normal working conditions. 

 

Care coordinators have gone virtual

COVID Care Coordination Outreach

Monthly Trend of Care Coordination Outreach Activities By Type During COVID-19

Outreach is a critical part of care coordination. This is how care coordinators intake, assess, and engage patients and clients when needed. This data shows a modest dip in face to face outreach encounters following local lockdowns in March, but a sustained return to normal face to face activity. You can even see a slight increase in face to face activity in recent months, compared to earlier months. 

It is interesting to see that phone calls have increased as well, and have stayed at such high levels. We are witnessing telephonic outreach activity happening at a volume that is 125% greater than before COVID. While we are far from out of the woods with the pandemic, we may have expected to see telephonic outreach start to wane when, in fact, we see the opposite. This could be a natural consequence of the difficulty of reaching individuals by telephone, which is a challenge that existed before the pandemic. Patient engagement is hard work!

 

As lockdown rules changed, so did our ability to get work done

COVID Care Coordination Tasks

Monthly Trend of Care Coordination Tasks Completed in Activate Care During COVID-19

Whether you are a care coordinator or not, you may empathize with the challenge of getting your work done during a pandemic. Many care coordinators employed by hospitals, health systems, or local agencies may have limited options for remote working. The pandemic disrupted normal operations for all of these organizations, which negatively affected our ability to get work done. 

This data shows the number of care coordination tasks completed in recent months. In the Activate Care platform, a task is any to-do item or deliverable such as completing an assessment, updating a care plan, or communicating with a patient. The overall volume of all tasks being completed has been somewhat tumultuous this year. I suppose that is 2020 for you.

 

Care coordinators continue to serve more people

COVID Care Coordination Plans-1

Monthly Trend of Care Plans Created in Activate Care During COVID-19

The care plan is the basis of person-centered, team-based care. Without it, care teams in the community have no way of coordinating their efforts, which leads to duplication of effort and reduction of impact. Since the start of the pandemic, care coordinators employed by Activate Care programs have served thousands of new individuals in communities across the country. 

We measure this by the number of new care plans created in our platform, and we can see that while this volume has fluctuated (similar to tasks), there are thousands of individuals being served by care coordinators, many for the first time. The persistence of care coordinators in the face of a pandemic is nothing short of inspiring.

 


 

Featured Webinar: A Day in the Life of a Care Coordinator

When care coordination programs purchase software systems that deliver the right tools to care coordinators in the field, everybody wins. Our SDOH MasterClass webinar, A Day in the Life of a Care Coordinator, interviews a former care coordinator to learn how she was able to efficiently do her job when provided with the right care coordination tools.

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Topics: Social Determinants of Health, Research & Reports, Blog