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Online J Issues Nurs. 2012 May 31;17(2):3.

Primary care nursing role and care coordination: an observational study of nursing work in a community health center.

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1
Daren@chc1.com

Abstract

Care coordination is a core element of the Patient-Centered Medical Home and requires an effective, well educated nursing staff. A greater understanding of roles and tasks currently being carried out by nurses in primary care is needed to help practices determine how best to implement care coordination and transform into PCMHs. We conducted an observational study of primary care nursing in a Community Health Center by creating a classification schema for nursing responsibilities, directly observing and tracking nurses' work, and categorizing their activities. Ten nurses in eight different practice sites were observed for a total of 61 hours. The vast majority of nursing time was spent in vaccine and medication administration; telephone work; and charting and paper work, while only 15% of their time was spent in activity that was classified broadly as care coordination. Care coordination work appeared to be subsumed by other daily tasks, many of which could have been accomplished by other, lesser trained members of the health care team. Practices looking to implement care coordination need a detailed look at work flow, task assignments, and a critical assessment of staffing, adhering to the principal of each team member working to the highest level of his or her education and license. Care coordination represents a distinct responsibility that requires dedicated nursing time, separate from the day to day tasks in a busy practice. To fully support these new functions, reimbursement models are needed that support such non visit-based work and provide incentives to coordinate and manage complex cases, achieve improved clinical outcomes and enhance efficiency of the health system. This article describes our study methods, data collection, and analysis, results, and discussion about reorganizing nursing roles to promote care coordination.

PMID:
22686111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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