Improving Use of a Hospital Transitional Care Clinic

Risha R. Shah, Mitesh P. Mehta, Ankitha Radakrishnan, John Sincavage, Christine Schaeffer, Caroline Teter, Joseph Feinglass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In response to Medicare readmission penalties, some hospitals have introduced transitional care clinics (TCCs) to meet the care needs of patients recently discharged from the emergency room or inpatient setting. This study was undertaken to increase the proportion of low-income, medically complex patients using a TCC at a large academic medical center, Northwestern Medical Group Transitional Care Clinic (NMG-TC). Methods: This quality improvement study combined interviews and quantitative data analysis to determine how to increase use of NMG-TC. Physicians and patients were interviewed and surveyed to identify opportunities to expand clinic use. Logistic regression analysis of electronic health record (EHR) data was used to identify sociodemographic and clinical conditions influencing the TCC appointment show rate. Results: Provider surveys and interviews suggested that referrals would likely increase via automation of referral guidelines and enhanced transitional care education. Patient interviews indicated that better communication of NMG-TC purpose, emphasizing nonmedical offerings, and warm handoffs could increase engagement. EHR analyses revealed that patients least likely to attend appointments were male, uninsured, non-Hispanic black, or homeless; had documented substance use; or lived > 50 miles from the clinic. Conversely, patients with heart failure, anxiety, or malignancy were more likely to attend appointments. Conclusion: TCC show rates could be improved with better communication of NMG-TC benefits to both patients and referring providers, as well as warm appointment handoffs, particularly for patients least likely to attend scheduled visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-681
Number of pages9
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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