What does it mean to ‘coordinate care’?
Until about 15 years ago, there was a very strict division between the GP and the specialist. It was a division that the patients recognised; you knew that if you wanted to see a specialist, you would need to be referred by your GP. Now that strict division seems to have fallen away. As more people gain access to the internet, many start “diagnosing” their own conditions and deciding for themselves when specialist help is needed.
A system of proper coordination of healthcare will ensure the best possible outcome for the patients and the healthcare providers (doctors, nurses and specialists) — all helping to manage costs.
Nowhere is this more needed than in the area of chronic diseases, of which breast cancer is one. Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that the global burden of chronic disease will boom from 27% of the total cost of healthcare to 43% in the next two decades!
The WHO points out that positive outcomes for chronic conditions are achieved only when patients and families, community partners, and health care teams are informed, motivated, prepared, and working together.
Advocates for Breast Cancer is lobbying for an effective and appropriate referral system for breast health. This referral system could take the form of five steps in the management of breast cancer: