Understanding Facilitators and Barriers to Care Transitions: Insights from Project ACHIEVE Site Visits

Project ACHIEVE Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background Care transitions between clinicians or settings are often fragmented and marked by adverse events. To increase patient safety and deliver more efficient and effective health care, new ways to optimize these transitions need to be identified. A study was conducted to delineate facilitators and barriers to implementation of transitional care services at health systems that may have been adopted or adapted from published evidence-based models. Methods From March 2015 through December 2015, site visits were conducted across the United States at 22 health care organizations—community hospitals, academic medical centers, integrated health systems, and broader community partnerships. At each site, direct observation and document review were conducted, as were semistructured interviews with a total of 810 participants (5 to 57 participants per site) representing various stakeholder groups, including management and leadership, transitional care team members, internal stakeholders, community partners, patients, and family caregivers. Results Facilitators of effective care transitions included collaborating within and beyond the organization, tailoring care to patients and caregivers, and generating buy-in among staff. Commonly reported barriers included poor integration of transitional care services, unmet patient or caregiver needs, underutilized services, and lack of physician buy-in. Conclusion True community partnership, high-quality communication, patient and family engagement, and ongoing evaluation and adaptation of transitional care strategies are ultimately needed to facilitate effective care transitions. Health care organizations can strategically prioritize transitional care service delivery through staffing decisions, by making transitional care part of the organization's formal board agenda, and by incentivizing excellence in providing transitional care services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-447
Number of pages15
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


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