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VOLUME 42 | NUMBER 1 | FEBRUARY 2007


Beyond Our Walls: Impact of Patient and Provider Coordination across the Continuum on Outcomes for Surgical Patients

Objectives.
To investigate patients' experience with coordination of their postsurgical care across multiple settings and the effects on key outcomes.

Data Sources.
Primary data collected over 18 months from 222 unilateral knee-replacement patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA.

Study Design.
Patients were surveyed about the coordination of their postdischarge care during the 6-week period postdischarge when they received care from rehabilitation facilities and/or home care agencies and follow-up care from the surgeon.

Data Collection.
Patients were surveyed before surgery and at 6 and 12 weeks postsurgery.

Principal Findings.
Patient reports highlight problems with coordination across settings and between providers and themselves. These problems, measured at 6 weeks, were associated with greater joint pain, lower functioning, and lower patient satisfaction at 6 weeks after surgery. At 12 weeks after surgery, coordination problems were associated with greater joint pain, but were not associated with functional status.

Conclusion.
Coordination across settings affects patients' clinical outcomes and satisfaction with their care. Although accountable for transfer to the next care setting, providers are neither accountable for nor supported to coordinate across the continuum. Addressing this system problem requires both introducing coordinating mechanisms and also supporting their use through changes in providers' incentives, resources, and time.

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