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Integrating Health Information Technology to Achieve Seamless Care Transitions

Marcotte, Leah MD*; Kirtane, Janhavi MBA; Lynn, Joanne MD, MA, MS; McKethan, Aaron PhD§

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000077
Original Articles

Improving care transitions, or “handoffs” as patients migrate from one care setting to another, is a priority across stakeholder groups and health-care settings and additionally is included in national health-care goals set forth in the National Quality Strategy. Although many demonstrations of improved care transitions have succeeded, particularly for hospital discharges, ensuring consistent, high-quality, and safe transitions of care remains challenging. This paper highlights the potential for health information technology to become an increasing part of effective transitional care interventions, with the potential to reduce the resource burden currently associated with effective care transitions, the ability to spread improved practices to larger numbers of patients and providers efficiently and at scale, and, as health technology interoperability increases, the potential to facilitate critical information flow and feedback loops to clinicians, patients, and caregivers across disparate information systems and care settings.

From the *Department of Medicine, University of Washington; †Beacon Community Program, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Washington, District of Columbia; ‡Center on Elder Care and Advanced Illness, Altarum Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and § RxAnte, Inc. and Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC Chapel Hill, Virginia.

Correspondence: Aaron McKethan, PhD, 3706 Merrimac Trail, Annandale, VA 22003(e-mail:

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