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Continuity of care: The importance of coordinated care as you age

Nov 8, 2023 By Dominique Astorino
Older couple talking to their One Medical provider in an exam room

Clinical Editors: Jeremy Oulton, MD and Megan Dodson, PA-C

As we age, healthcare needs can become more complex and frequent. Continuity of care can help us maintain an excellent quality of life, especially as we may have more doctor’s office visits, treatment plans, and prescriptions. Let’s explore exactly what “continuity of care” is, why it’s so important, and how One Medical Seniors can help.

What is continuity of care?

Continuity of care happens when a patient receives medical care – typically from the same physician-led care team over time – in a coordinated manner.

Optimal continuity of care involves having a primary care provider (PCP) and an integrated care team who really know you, understand your health goals and health history, and work with you to ensure you receive consistent, high-quality care. With continuity of care, everyone’s on the same page and things like vaccines, medications, and checkups are less likely to slip through the cracks.

What makes continuity of care so important for seniors?

Maintaining continuity of care with the same provider and care team can lead to safer, more effective healthcare. When your team really knows you, they can better advocate for you and your health — such as detecting issues sooner and preventing adverse drug interactions.

Without continuity of care, you’ll have a fragmented care experience, which can be frustrating, costly, and time consuming. Starting over with new providers can be overwhelming and exhausting — especially because it can take time to build mutual trust. Seeing a variety of doctors or constantly switching around could also cause you to miss important preventive screenings, get off track managing chronic conditions, or even run out of medication.

How One Medical Seniors supports continuity of care

One Medical Seniors is a doctor’s office designed around patients on Medicare. Our approach is proactive, preventive, and relationship-based.

At One Medical Seniors, continuity of care is a priority — and we facilitate it all for you. Here’s what that includes:

1. A dedicated care team – including a Health Coach – who really cares about you

One Medical Seniors patients have a dedicated care team, consisting of their primary care provider, a Health Coach, nurses, and support staff who work together to support your WHOLE health. Our care team takes the time to get to know you, hear your concerns, and understand your health history and lifestyle. to customize a plan that fits your life and helps you achieve your goals.

Alongside your provider, your Health Coach is an integral part of your care team from day one. Your Health Coach will be by your side at all of your appointments to update your health information, flag anything you’d like to discuss during your visit, prepare your provider, take notes, and outline next steps.

We also have an established continuity of care process within our practice, ensuring you receive consistent care if a provider leaves One Medical Seniors.

2. You get a dedicated office to call home, built just for seniors

At One Medical Seniors, you’re assigned to an office location that is most convenient for you. This is where your provider, Health Coach, and the rest of your care team will be based. Our offices are designed to be welcoming — full of familiar faces everytime you walk in the door!

3. You have 24/7 access to a primary care provider by phone

Whether you’re experiencing a health issue after hours or simply unable to make it in for an appointment, we can address your concern via phone 24/7. Just give us a call, we’re here to help!

4. You’ve got on-site laboratories in our offices for convenient, one-stop services

On-site labs means in most cases, you can get your appointment and lab work done in one visit. Our labs are equipped to draw and prepare standard blood panels, administer vaccines, and more. Our drop-in hours let you come back later if another time works better.

Need a referral, or to travel to another site for a specific vaccine we may not carry? We’ll make it as easy for you as possible.

5. We coordinate your care with hospitals, specialists, and your loved ones

Your One Medical Seniors care team proactively reaches out to patients, specialists, and insurance to ensure smooth care coordination.

Not only does your care team coordinate with all of your specialists — and any hospitals you’ve been admitted to or need to go to — but we also understand the importance of keeping your family up to date, so we extend our personal relationship to those you love.

6. You’ll get same- and next-day appointments for acute needs

Need care? We’ll see you ASAP. Whether you’ve got a lingering cough, a stomach bug, a sprained ankle, or something else, you shouldn’t have to wait weeks to see a doctor when you’re sick or injured. Or spend more time and money at an urgent care clinic or ER just because you can’t get in to see your primary care provider. That’s why we offer same and next-day appointments.

7. You get cost-effective healthcare

One Medical Seniors is a value-based care practice, which means our providers are compensated based on the quality of care they provide — not the quantity of procedures or tests performed, as is common in the US healthcare system. Aligning patient incentives with provider incentives reduces overall healthcare costs.

We are also committed to keeping your costs down by providing in-network specialist referrals and offering on-site labs, 24/7 phone care and more.

How you can support your own continuity of care

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting the best care:

  • Communicate any planned insurance changes. Always keep your provider’s office up to date on your current insurance. And if you’re thinking of switching insurance plans during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period, call your One Medical Seniors office to ensure you select a plan we accept.
  • Bring questions. Our providers spend more time with patients to ensure all your questions are answered, so you feel confident in your care plan when you leave your appointment.
  • Provide your records. Ensure your primary care provider has all of your medical records, and knows what medications you’re taking.
  • Tell your care team about any emergency care you receive. Sharing hospital, ER, and urgent care visits with your care team ASAP is the best way to ensure we know your health status and how to guide you moving forward.
  • Follow instructions, and always communicate. This includes talking with your provider or pharmacist before you stop taking any prescription medications. If your symptoms get worse or you have any questions about your care plan, reach out to your provider.
  • Be engaged in your health. Have a concern? Need tests? Want to see a specialist? Come to us! Remember, One Medical Seniors can help you find a quality in-network referral.

Especially for older adults, continuity of care is critical. It helps you maintain optimal health, get the best care possible, eliminate some of the healthcare system hassles, and get the most cost-effective treatment. One Medical Seniors helps with all of this – and we’re built specifically for those 65+ and on Medicare.

65+ on Medicare? One Medical Seniors is made for you.
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Dominique Astorino

The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, a national, modern primary care practice pairing 24/7 virtual care services with inviting and convenient in-person care at over 100 locations across the U.S. One Medical is on a mission to transform health care for all through a human-centered, technology-powered approach to caring for people at every stage of life.

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