Exploring the Validity of Developing an Interdisciplinarity Score of a Patient's Needs: Care Coordination, Patient Complexity, and Patient Safety Indicators

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Despite the Affordable Care Act's push to improve the coordination of care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, most measures of coordination quality focus on a specific moment in the care process (e.g., medication errors or transfer between facilities), rather than patient outcomes. One possible supplementary way of measuring the care coordination quality of a facility would be to identify the patients needing the most coordination, and to look at outcomes for that group. This paper lays the groundwork for a new measure of care coordination quality by outlining a conceptual framework that considers the interaction between a patient's interdisciplinarity, biological susceptibility, and procedural intensity. Interdisciplinarity captures the degree of specialized medical expertise needed for a patient's care and will be an important measure to estimate the number of specialists a patient might see. We then develop a preliminary measure of interdisciplinarity and run tests linking interdisciplinarity to medical mistakes, as defined by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Patient Safety Indicators. Finally, we use our preliminary measure to verify that interdisciplinarity is likely to be statistically different from existing measures of comorbidity, like the Charlson score. Future research will need to build upon our findings by developing a more statistically validated measure of interdisciplinarity.

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