3 lessons to improve patient care transitions

Although there is no cookie-cutter approach to care coordination, one hospital's strategy has proven to be an effect model for patient care transitions, according to Medscape.

Indiana University Health North Hospital (IU Health) is among the top performers for care transitions based on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems data. Officials at IU Health attribute the organization's success to three key lessons they learned while trying to improve the process:

Involve various disciplines: IU Health found that a focus on single provider types such as nurses or physicians did not do the trick. Instead, officials write they got their best results by including multiple disciplines in the process, such as enlisting therapists to improve patient education and transition continuity. 

Make sure the message is consistent: Similarly, they say it's important to ensure that all providers involved in care transitions understand their respective roles and keep the message consistent. "This step provides continuity within the team and between team members, patients, and families as everyone is more likely to speak the same language and interpret information in the same way," they write.

Collect and measure data: IU Health stepped up its measurement tracking as well as the specific metrics collected as clinicians came to better understand processes. Without baseline data, the authors say, officials would have been unable to assess whether an improvement in a process was actually making a quantifiable difference to outcomes or whether it needed to be further fine-tuned. 

To learn more:
- read the Medscape article