Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Crossing the Communication Chasm: Challenges and Opportunities in Transitions of Care from the Hospital to the Primary Care Clinic.

Rattray NA, Sico JJ, Cox LM, Russ AL, Matthias MS, Frankel RM. Crossing the Communication Chasm: Challenges and Opportunities in Transitions of Care from the Hospital to the Primary Care Clinic. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2017 Mar 1; 43(3):127-137.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Transitions of care from specialty and acute settings to primary care abound. Compared to the continuity in end-of-shift handoffs, care transitions involve provider communication between practices and facilities with their own cultures and bureaucracies. Using the transition from acute care to outpatient primary care for stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients as a case study, this qualitative research explored communication practices and institutional arrangements among clinical providers responsible for longitudinal management of hypertension. In this study, researchers investigated the barriers and facilitators of effective communication between acute stroke/TIA inpatient and primary care providers at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. METHODS: A multidisciplinary team conducted consensus-based coding and thematic analysis of semistructured interviews with 21 clinical providers (9 with primary responsibilities for inpatient care and 12 with primary responsibilities in outpatient, primary care). RESULTS: Thematic analysis of responses identified three factors that influenced communication between clinical providers: (1) consistent, concise but complete medication and treatment plans; (2) reliable, standardized discharge documentation; (3) use of multiple modes of communication. Participants identified cultural barriers, including challenges with rotating providers at a teaching hospital and local discharge practices. CONCLUSION: Ambiguity about who is being handed off to and time pressures in the acute setting may lead inpatient providers to give lower priority to discharge communication, leaving outpatient providers with low-quality information. While electronic templates have standardized key components of discharge documentation, improvement opportunities remain. Increased awareness of the challenges and opportunities on each side of the care transfer could foster communication practices that systematically account for the information needs of inpatient and outpatient providers.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.