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  1. Hewner, Sharon PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Chen, Chiahui MS, RN, FNP-BC
  3. Anderson, Linda BSN, RN
  4. Pasek, Lana EdM, MSN, ANP-BC, CCRN, CNRN
  5. Anderson, Amanda MSN, MPA, RN
  6. Popejoy, Lori PhD, RN, FAAN


Purpose of Study: This scoping review explored research literature on the integration and coordination of services for high-need, high-cost (HNHC) patients in an attempt to answer the following questions: What models of transitional care are utilized to manage HNHC patients in the United States? and How effective are they in reducing low-value utilization and in improving continuity?


Primary Practice Settings: U.S. urban, suburban, and rural health care sites within primary care, veterans' services, behavioral health, and palliative care.


Methodology and Sample: Utilizing the Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA guidelines for scoping reviews, a stepwise method was applied to search multiple databases for peer-reviewed published research on transitional care models serving HNHC adult patients in the United States from 2008 to 2018. All eligible studies were included regardless of quality rating. Exclusions were foreign models, studies published prior to 2008, review articles, care reports, and studies with participants younger than 18 years. The search returned 1,088 studies, of which 19 were included.


Results: Four studies were randomized controlled trials and other designs included case reports and observational, quasi-experimental, cohort, and descriptive studies. Studies focused on Medicaid, Medicare, dual-eligible patients, veterans, and the uninsured or underinsured. High-need, high-cost patients were identified on the basis of prior utilization patterns of inpatient and emergency department visits, high cost, multiple chronic medical diagnoses, or a combination of these factors. Tools used to identify these patients included the hierarchical condition category predictive model, the Elder Risk Assessment, and the 4-year prognostic index score. The majority of studies combined characteristics of multiple case management models with varying levels of impact.


Implications for Case Management Practice:


* Care coordination and case management were the primary strategies used to address the care needs of HNHC patients;


* Interventions must reflect a strategy to efficiently identify and direct HNHC patients to the most appropriate resources;


* The full potential of current technological offerings has not been realized in the science of care coordination;


* Care management interventions must evolve to bridge multiple health care settings and community-based organizations through communication and collaboration; and


* Continuity of care is vital during the immediate post discharge period,; however, tracking of continuity as an outcome remains poorly defined and is not reflective of actual practice.