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Care transition for complex patients: a framework to analyse and develop the Operating Centres for Transition

Angelica Zazzera (Università Bocconi CERGAS, Milano, Italy)
Lucia Ferrara (Università Bocconi CERGAS, Milano, Italy)
Valeria Domenica Tozzi (Università Bocconi CERGAS, Milano, Italy)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 13 August 2021

Issue publication date: 9 December 2021




Transitional care (TC) models emerged to ensure healthcare coordination and continuity, as at-risk patients transfer between different settings or different levels of care within the same setting. TC models have been developed in many countries as well as within different healthcare service delivery models and organizations. This paper aims to focus on a TC model developed in Italy called Operating Centre for Transition (OCT), in order to (1) explore its distinctive features by establishing a framework of analysis, (2) apply the framework to study two OCTs and (3) provide recommendations on how to use the framework to evaluate and develop new OCTs in the future.


The authors adopted a grounded theory method to develop and validate the framework of analysis. The authors employed several qualitative methods following four iterative and recursive steps: (1) desk analysis of relevant documents, (2) in-depth interviews to key informants, (3) three meetings of an expert working group and (4) application of the framework to two case studies.


The framework of analysis identifies three core dimensions that are always present in any OCT: the service model, the functions and the organizational features. Moreover, for every dimension several variables that capture and understand OCTs’ nature, role and development level are identified.


The results of the study highlight the key elements of the OCT model in Italy and show that the proposed framework can be useful both to analyse existing OCTs and to support health managers and policy makers to create new OCTs or develop those already active.



Zazzera, A., Ferrara, L. and Tozzi, V.D. (2021), "Care transition for complex patients: a framework to analyse and develop the Operating Centres for Transition", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 425-438.



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