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Aging2.0 Grand Challenge Focus: Care Coordination

Aging2.0 is committed to supporting innovators that are focused on the biggest challenges and opportunities of aging. Over the past six years, our small-but-mighty team has worked tirelessly to make a meaningful impact on the lives of older adults around the world. Hear what we’re personally passionate about.

 

A little background about myself... I am the Director of Community Engagement at Aging2.0, where I help build and support the global network of Aging2.0 Chapters and maintain and grow engagement among the Aging2.0 community. Prior to joining Aging2.0, I worked in healthcare innovation at the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) as well as Meals On Wheels and In-Home Services at Mid-Cumberland HRA. I hold a dual MBA and Master of Science in Gerontology Degree at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I have volunteered for the Aging2.0 Washington, D.C. Chapter since 2014, served as Aging2.0 Washington, D.C. Ambassador from 2016-2017, and regularly delivered nutritious meals to homebound individuals through IONA Senior Services.

Why Aging2.0… I became interested in joining the Aging2.0 HQ team for several reasons. First, I have thoroughly enjoyed years of volunteering with the local Aging2.0 Washington, DC Chapter! I saw firsthand the impact the local Chapter had on innovators, providers, students, advisors, the industry itself and older adults. Plus, the local Chapter team members have become like family! Second, when I joined the HQ team, I felt as though I had an opportunity to put 100% of my energy towards a topic I had been exploring as a volunteer in my spare time. It's an honor to devote my professional efforts towards something that I had spent years doing on the side.  Lastly, I am 100% committed to the Aging2.0 values and believe in the mission of our organization. I am excited to see what is in store for our small but mighty team.

What is Care Coordination... 

Aging2.0 describes Care Coordination in the following way:
The healthcare journey can be particularly complex and fragmented for older adults, two-thirds of whom have at least two chronic conditions. With three-quarters of global healthcare spending going to chronic care management, families and payers are aligned in their desire to care for people in the least restrictive, most cost-effective setting possible. Families and providers need new tools and care models to support care transitions, clinical collaboration, medication management, population health management, and remote care delivery.

Why Care Coordination... The reason I find care coordination to be a particularly interesting topic is because of my background in healthcare innovation, meals on wheels and in-home services.

While at Mid Cumberland HRA, I experienced firsthand the chaos that can ensue (oftentimes on a Friday afternoon!) when a care coordinator would to let me know that a client had just been discharged from the hospital and needed services to begin within 24 hours. Our amazing team would accept the client, scramble to cover to the client’s service needs, and hope that the person would make the transition back home safely and seamlessly. Our team would also hope that all members involved in that person's care - family, friends, medical team, in-home aid, etc. - were all on the same page and would effectively keep that person healthy and at home. This was often - but not always - the case.

While at MI2, I gained valuable insight into the healthcare industry. For example, I learned that healthcare is much like a juggernaut. Changing the path of a juggernaut takes time and takes micro-calibrations. To truly shift the mindset of a health system, there must be financial incentives, regulatory change (CMS often leads this!) , and invested, influential leadership to lead the way and create an ecosystem that allows for care coordination. 

In my roles at MI2 and Mid-Cumberland HRA, I gained valuable experience and learned that there are many opportunities for improvement in this field. 

Why I am hopeful... I am excited to see more conferences, thought leaders, innovators, and providers focusing on cross-collaboration. In the past, I have seen new solutions/products with the goal of addressing a particular issue in care coordination, but actually had the opposite effect of siloing data and creating barriers between stakeholders. We truly need cross collaboration among all stakeholders - including the person receiving care - in order to properly and effectively address these issues.

I am seeing a trend of crossing medical and non-medical boundaries. At Aging2.0, we believe in designing for the whole person... not just the medical/healthcare aspect. 

On a personal note, I had my first child in November 2017.  Everything I do is for him. I hope, for his sake and for others in his generation, that the future of care is much more effective, holistic, person-centered, and coordinated! 

I hope you will join Aging2.0 in this conversation and contribute your thoughts and ideas.

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