Member: American Nurses Association

Why “care coordination” and why now? Care coordination has been proposed as a solution to many of the seemingly intractable problems of American health care: high costs, uneven quality, and too frequent disappointing patient outcomes. More resources are devoted to health care per capita in the United States than in any other nation, yet our fragmented system is often characterized by communication failures and non-beneficial or redundant healthcare tests and services. This results in an unacceptable risk of error and an increase in cost, in terms of both resources and human suffering.

Many independent elements of U.S. health care are high quality, but these need to be better aligned to serve patients and the people and institutions that care for them. Current financial and structural incentives restrict potential for better patient care outcomes and effective resource allocation. Rather, they intensify the weaknesses inherent in the non-coordinated, independently functioning pieces of our health care system. The development and implementation of effective systems and processes to cure this current misalignment can benefit tremendously from the experience, professional competencies, and long-standing ethos of registered nursing.