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Rural Health Information Hub

Safety and Liability Considerations

Safety and liability are important considerations for care coordination programs. Care coordinators and other staff that visit a patient's home and workplace must receive safety training. Staff traveling long distances on rural roads may need winter survival kits in their vehicles. There may be other liabilities to consider for care coordinators who drive patients to appointments in their personal vehicles.

When physicians or other medical providers direct care coordination, there can also be liability considerations. Some providers, often primary care physicians, can take on the role of coordinating patient care and help connect the patient with care plans and coordinate treatment with specialists if necessary. Providers who take on the care coordination role are often managing the care of sicker patients with multiple conditions. The provider that is responsible for care coordination takes on increased responsibility for a patient, which can increase that provider's liability risks and concerns.

Other liability concerns are related to information exchange. With the increased role of HIT systems and tools, such as electronic medical records, used for sharing data across care providers, there is also a potential risk for an increase in provider liability. HIT systems have the potential to improve care coordination and patient quality care, but there are additional security and privacy risks when providers transmit data electronically. Healthcare providers must have safeguards in place to ensure that electronic patient data are exchanged safety and securely.