BMJ Qual Improv Report 6: doi:10.1136/bmjquality.u212974.w5206
  • BMJ Quality Improvement Programme

Transitional care management in the outpatient setting

  1. Danielle Nelson
  1. Analiza Baldonado DNP FNP-C MSN/ED CCRN, Ofelia Hawk MSN RN, Thomas Ormiston MD FACP, Danielle Nelson MD MPH
  1. Correspondence to Analiza Baldonado DNP FNP-C MSN/ED CCRN anaghin{at}
  • Received 2 July 2016
  • Revision requested 12 July 2016
  • Revised 31 July 2016
  • Published 27 April 2017


Patients who are high risk high cost (HRHC), those with severe or multiple medical issues, and the chronically ill elderly are major drivers of rising health care costs.1 The HRHC patients with complex health conditions and functional limitations may likely go to emergency rooms and hospitals, need more supportive services, and use long-term care facilities.2 As a result, these patient populations are vulnerable to fragmented care and “falling through the cracks”.2 A large county health and hospital system in California, USA introduced evidence-based interventions in accordance with the Triple AIM3 focused on patient-centered health care, prevention, health maintenance, and safe transitions across the care continuum. The pilot program embedded a Transitional Care Manager (TCM) within an outpatient Family Medicine clinic to proactively assist HRHC patients with outreach assistance, problem-solving and facilitating smooth transitions of care. This initiative is supported by a collaborative team that included physicians, nurses, specialists, health educator, and pharmacist. The initial 50 patients showed a decrease in Emergency Department (ED) encounters (pre-vs post intervention: 33 vs 17) and hospital admissions (pre-vs post intervention: 32 vs 11), improved patient outcomes, and cost saving. As an example, one patient had 1 ED visit and 5 hospital admission with total charges of $217,355.75 in the 6 months' pre-intervention with no recurrence of ED or hospital admissions in the 6 months of TCM enrollment. The preliminary findings showed improvement of patient-centered outcomes, quality of care, and resource utilization however more data is required.

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