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Health Care Coalition Approves Tools to Improve Patient Safety During Transitions of Care

Posted on 4/17/2008 by NTOCC ® in Press Releases

Little Rock, Ark. (April 24, 2008) — The National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC) Advisory Task Force has authorized the release of recently developed tools for helping healthcare professionals and organizations address problems inherent in transitioning patients from one level of care to another. The tools represent the culmination of several months of collaboration between 29 industry stakeholders who joined together in 2006 to address challenges associated with transitions of care. In addition, NTOCC is also releasing accompanying information on how to implement and measure the tools, as well as material designed to raise industry, policy maker, media, and the general public's awareness of transitions of care. The material will be made available on NTOCC's website ( at the end of April. NTOCC is chaired and coordinated by the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) in partnership with sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC.

"The amount of work this group has accomplished in just 18 months is impressive," Cheri Lattimer, NTOCC Project Director and CMSA Executive Director said. "For a group this large, representing such various points of view within healthcare to come together and not only agree that transitions of care is a serious problem but also design, develop and launch tools to impact this issue a fantastic accomplishment."

Included with the launch of the tools is a "Case Study Implementation and Evaluation Plan" on how healthcare providers can implement them within their clinical environments, as well as a process for evaluating and measuring their effectiveness. "Providers can use the tools and process to start making changes in how transitions occur within their facilities," H. Edward Davidson, PharmD, MPH, and the representative of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) said. "The goal is that providers are empowered to take the first step at measuring their own performances in transitions of care and identify areas for improvement. These areas include such things as improving how medication changes are reconciled when patients move from a nursing home to a hospital, through the hospital, and through the discharge process." The materials include an educational component about transitions of care, an implementation case study and evaluation methodology.

The released tools address several important areas that impact effective and safe transitions, including:
  • Personal Patient "My Medicine List" Essential Data Elements: This is a list of medications to be carried at all times by every patient. The data elements indicate the prescriptions that patients have been prescribed and are currently taking along with information about their over-the counter medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements. The goal of the personal medicine list is to help patients improve their understanding of their current medicine regimens and assist healthcare providers in ensuring safe transference of medication information.
  • Medication Reconciliation Essential Data Specifications: These consensus elements will help healthcare professionals collect, transmit and receive critical medication information needed when patients move from one practice setting or level of care to another. The use of these elements in the reconciliation process required by the Joint Commission could help reduce medication errors.
  • Elements of Excellence Transitions of Care Checklist: This list provides a detailed description of effective patient transfer between practice settings. This process can help to ensure that patients and their critical medical information are transferred safely, timely, and efficiently.

In addition, NTOCC authorized the release of materials that will help the industry, consumers, government officials, and regulators better understand the problems inherent in transitions of care and recommendations on how to create better transitions. This material includes an awareness slide deck, as well as a detailed concept paper outlining steps to be considered by the healthcare industry and policy makers to improve transition performance.

Transitions of care include situations in which a patient moves from primary care to specialty physicians or moves within the hospital including moves from the emergency department to other various departments, such as surgery or intensive care; or when a patient is discharged from the hospital and goes home or to an assisted living, skilled nursing facility, or hospice. Patients, especially older persons, face significant challenges when moving from one level of care or practice setting to another in the healthcare system. During these transitions, lack of communication can result in redundant or conflicting information that often creates serious issues for patients, their caregivers and their families.

The NTOCC Advisory Board includes the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), American Geriatrics Society (AGS), American Medical Directors Association (AMDA), American Medical Group Association (AMGA), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), American Society on Aging (ASA), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), AXA Assistance USA Inc., Case Management Society of America (CMSA), Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS), Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Joint Commission International Center for Patient Safety (ICPS), Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care, Mid-America Coalition on Health Care (MACHC), National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration - Long Term Care (NADONA / LTC), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH), National Case Management Network of Canada (NCMN), National Quality Forum (NQF), Predictive Health, LLC, sanofi-aventis U.S., LLC, Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), The Joint Commission Disease - Specific Care Certification, United Health Group (UHG), URAC, and the United States Department of Defense.


About National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC)
NTOCC was formed in 2006 to address a serious U.S. health care issue: filling the gaps that occur when patients leave one care setting and move to another care setting.  These transitions include patients moving from primary care to specialty physicians; moving or transferring patients from the emergency department to intensive care or surgery; or when patients are discharged from the hospital to home, assisted living arrangements, or skilled nursing facilities.  The U.S. healthcare system often fails to meet the needs of elderly patient populations during these transitions because care is rushed and responsibility is fragmented with little communication across care settings and multiple providers.  These failures lead to undue burdens on patients and their families and negatively impact patient safety, quality of care and outcomes.  The focus of NTOCC is to bring together thought leaders and health care experts from various settings to address this critical issue, define solutions and develop tools to address the gaps impacting patient care.  Tools and resources developed by NTOCC will be made available to everyone in the health care industry including providers, payers, patients and consumers.  NTOCC is chaired and coordinated by the Case Management Society of America and sponsored by sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC. Visit

About sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT : SAN) and in New York (NYSE : SNY). Visit or

About Case Management Society of America (CMSA)
Established in 1990, the Case Management Society of America is an international non-profit 501(c)(6) multi-disciplinary professional association dedicated to the support and advancement of the case management profession through educational forums, networking opportunities, legislative advocacy, and establishing standards to advance the profession. It is based in Little Rock, AR, and serves more than 20,000 members/subscribers and 70 affiliate and pending chapters. Since its inception, CMSA has been at the forefront of setting professional standards for the industry, which allows for the highest level of efficiency and integrity, as well as developing national and local leaders who are recognized for their practice and professional excellence. For more information on CMSA, call CMSA at (501) 225-2229 or go to