Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH; Robert A. Berenson, MD
Grant Support: By Paul Beeson Faculty Scholars in Aging Research/American Federation for Aging Research.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH, Divisions of Health Care Policy and Research and Geriatric Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 13611 East Colfax, Suite 100, Aurora, CO 80011; e-mail, Eric.Coleman@uchsc.edu.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Coleman: Divisions of Health Care Policy and Research and Geriatric Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 13611 East Colfax, Suite 100, Aurora, CO 80011.
Dr. Berenson: The Urban Institute Health Policy Center, 2100 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Transitional care has been defined as a set of actions designed to ensure the coordination and continuity of health care as patients transfer between different locations or different levels of care in the same location. Transitional care, which primarily concerns the relatively brief time interval that begins with preparing a patient to leave one setting and concludes when the patient is received in the next setting, poses challenges that distinguish it from other types of care. Many transitions are unplanned, result from unanticipated medical problems, occur in “real time” during nights and on weekends, involve clinicians who may not have an ongoing relationship with the patient, and happen so quickly that formal and informal support mechanisms cannot respond in a timely manner. This article describes the challenges involved in and potential solutions for improving the quality of transitional care.
Eric A. Coleman, Robert A. Berenson. Lost in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities for Improving the Quality of Transitional Care. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:533–536. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-141-7-200410050-00009
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(7):533-536.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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