You may have heard the term, “coordinated care” but how does this care model impact athletes? Coordinated care is a multidisciplinary approach to care in which doctors and other health care providers collaborate, share information and communicate patient’s needs and preferences. Ultimately, this approach promotes sustained health, effectively manages injuries or conditions and allows athletes to experience care that aligns with their goals. In one study among youth athletes, 78% of athletes reported improved mental health symptoms following a coordinated care approach, compared to just 46% of athletes who received standard care. Unfortunately, lack of care coordination can lead to negative health outcomes for children in youth sports.
Coordinated care options include access to telemedicine, local specialists and direct communication with preferred providers. Through care coordination, youth sports organizations and athletic trainers (ATs) can help support athletes and caregivers throughout the injury lifecycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has put health care providers and athletes in a unique position to capitalize on alternate approaches to care. Telemedicine or virtual care, is one newly popular method to increase the athlete’s options. Research shows that using telemedicine to treat sports injuries can save patients over 50 minutes in wait and visit times and an average of $50 in travel costs. Although previously underutilized, both physicians and athletes report high satisfaction with virtual care. In lieu of telemedicine, youth sports organizations and ATs can connect athletes and caregivers with local providers which can also decrease travel costs and provide a convenient and accessible care option.
When youth sports organizations and athletic trainers connect caregivers with telehealth and local specialists, they simultaneously promote direct communication with preferred providers. These care options empower athletes and caregivers to easily stay connected and in the know regarding athlete care. Coordinated care also offers seamless support for both follow up visits and injury prevention. Telemedicine and access to local providers promotes accessible, consistent and convenient care which may increase athlete’s rehab compliance and overall, positively impacts and sustains athlete health.
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- Bryant, M. (2017, September 20). Study: Telemedicine cuts costs and wait times in Pediatric Sports Medicine. Healthcare Dive. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/study-telemedicine-cuts-costs-wait-times-in-pediatric-sports-medicine/505290/
- Care coordination: CMS Innovation Center. Innovation Center. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2023, from https://innovation.cms.gov/key-concept/care-coordination
- Hertling S, Loos FM, Graul I. Telemedicine as a Therapeutic Option in Sports Medicine: Results of a Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study among Physicians and Patients in Germany. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 2;18(13):7110. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18137110. PMID: 34281045; PMCID: PMC8297228
- Rapaport, L. (2016, September 13). Teens need coordinated care for sports concussions. Yahoo! News. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from https://www.yahoo.com/news/teens-coordinated-care-sports-concussions-165213415.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIePSym9JW-