Technology for coordinating care

Do you at times feel like the conductor of an unruly orchestra? That’s not uncommon when caring for a loved one. You are coordinating multiple doctors. Tracking multiple prescriptions. Communicating with multiple family members. Scheduling paid help. It’s a lot to orchestrate! You are serving as a care coordinator.

Here are some online tools that can help you keep your “band” in sync:

  • Store documents with Google Drive. The Internet offers many possibilities for storing information in the cloud. The simplest is to create collaborative, shareable Google Documents for things such as the list of doctors, the list of medications, or neighbors’ names and phone numbers.
  • Create an online calendar. Another free service is Google Calendar. Use this to post doctor appointments or caregiver visits. Like Google Docs, this tool allows authorized family, friends, and helpers to access the information anytime from anywhere.
  • Stay in touch using private blog services. Lotsa Helping Hands, Caring Bridge, and CareZone are examples of free tools that allow you to upload photos and describe the day’s activities. You can even have discussions with friends and family through the Comments section.

Security concerns. You don’t want to post financially sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or bank accounts, on these sites.

HIPAA. None of the above sites meets HIPAA standards of security. If you want maximum confidentiality, look for caregiver support websites that advertise themselves as “HIPAA-compliant.” These sites will involve a fee. However, they also offer the added convenience of putting all the care coordination tools in one place (calendars, medication lists, doctors lists, blog, etc.).

Professional care management. And if the orchestra gets a bit much, it may be time to hire an expert in care coordination. Care managers see that the team is in rhythm. An added plus: They are also very good at promoting team harmony.