Clinically Integrated Networks: An All-Star Team
What’s a Clinically Integrated Network (CIN)?
Put simply, a clinically integrated network is an All-Star team of healthcare professionals who guide a patient through their care pathways. Consider, as an example, the needs a patient has after receiving a surgery. Treatment protocols call for frequent evaluations by their physician, support from physical therapists and nurses, potential assistance by home health providers, and often referrals to another specialist outside the system.
How can all these experts come together to provide an organized, consistent plan of care for patients throughout their healthcare journey? This is the role of clinically integrated networks. It’s a collaboration of care that comes together to provide more convenient, cost-effective, and quality healthcare. It’s a team-oriented system of care that delivers the expertise and coordination to treat a particular condition. They work together as a unit, bringing different specialties and disciplines together to treat patients and deliver the best care that they can.
Clinically integrated networks are part of the evolving healthcare ecosystem. They help patients navigate the healthcare system, providing a consistent, coordinated experience from start to finish. For example, patients with diabetes can be connected with a network that can help them manage their disease and monitor their health.
As healthcare providers seek to improve the overall quality of care, clinical networks are a powerful tool to deliver high-quality care. They are patient-centered, cost effective, and able to promote better outcomes.
Physician-Directed: Why That Matters
It is the physician who sets the standards of care for any patient, and this doesn’t change when that physician is operating in a CIN framework. The physician is the one who evaluates the patient’s situation and the type of treatment needed across all continuities of care. If the CIN is a wheel, the physician is the center around which the wheel revolves.
Physicians who use a CIN can:
- Exercise greater control over the patient journey.
- Communicate easily and effectively with other health providers.
- Monitor progress and make changes as needed.
The standards set by the physician, as well as their milestones and recommendations, are duly communicated to all providers within the CIN to ensure their care plan is being fulfilled. It’s the physician who acts as the expert and long-term care provider for that patient, so their approach forms the basis for every action the CIN takes.
The physician is the primary point of contact for the patient within the CIN, the one ultimately responsible for that patient’s care. All providers in the CIN sign a contract to follow the physician’s treatment protocol. They need the physician’s express authorization to deviate from that contract, which ensures that the originating care plan is followed.
How a CIN Improves Quality and Consistency
By bringing all care providers involved in the patient’s care together in one unified platform, a CIN can simplify the patient’s experience. It provides a single, comprehensive source of information about the patient’s condition, so that the patient and their provider have a better understanding of the patient’s current situation and where they need to go next.
The team can collaborate on clinical, financial, and administrative matters, and a CIN can work with a variety of providers to ensure that all care is harmonized and that the patient has access to the best care they can provide. It offers patients a less fragmented, more coordinated care experience during their recovery.
Healthcare practices can use CINs to work more effectively. For example, a provider for a patient who just had knee replacement surgery can quickly bring together a team of professionals dedicated to that patient’s recovery. They can easily organize a rehabilitation program and communicate with each other as the patient moves through each step in the process.
Furthermore, if the patient encounters any complications, the provider can access the entire team of care providers, making it easier to coordinate medical care and quickly identify and address any issues that arise. For the same reasons, CINs can help clinicians deliver high-quality care. When care teams full of experts provide coordinated, continuous care for patients who have complicated recoveries or chronic conditions, they can achieve better outcomes and save money by avoiding unnecessary readmissions.
CINs are often cost effective because they are able to reduce unnecessary redundancy and inefficiencies. For example, a CIN can help an independent practice and its CIN to avoid duplicated efforts. Physicians can likewise benefit from the input of other trusted providers to speed along the recovery process and minimize the unnecessary utilization of resources.
Because the CIN increases efficiency, it can help bring more patients into and through the network, generating more revenue for the originating healthcare practice and all other providers in the network. In turn, providers in the CIN can offer better prices, both to patients and to each other, in line with their increasing flow of revenue.
A Leading Authority in Developing Patient-Care CINs
TRIARQ is focused on building unified, dynamic CINs that allow patients to access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it. We have been working with healthcare organizations of all sizes to develop, implement, and scale CINs that are bringing the care they provide to patients more efficiently.
Our proprietary QPathway platform allows healthcare practices to build and maintain a dynamic CIN that can be easily customized to meet the needs of their patients. The platform is designed to promote collaboration at each stage of the patient journey while, at the same time, simplifying care plan development and reducing costs.
Making Care Accessible
Quality healthcare has too often been out of the reach of everyday consumers, and providers have looked a long time for ways to bring costs down to a more manageable level. By enabling providers to better pool their efforts under a physician’s oversight, unified CIN platforms allow even smaller and independent healthcare practices to offer competitive and effective care in their communities.
This is a critical moment for healthcare. A CIN can help streamline the patient’s experience and lower costs, all while increasing the quality of care. TRIARQ is proud to be spearheading new care delivery systems that will enable patients to receive high-quality, coordinated care more affordably and efficiently than ever before.