The University of Kentucky will lead a $14.9 million project to help identify the best ways to help patients move between hospitals, nursing homes and their own houses, as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress, is funding the project.
"UK's new $14.9 million contract will help improve research and understanding of outcomes in the patient transition process and translate new knowledge into applications," said President Eli Capilouto. "It's how we help shape better outcomes along the spectrum of patient care."
Health officials at Tuesday's announcement said poorly managed transitions can lead to bigger medical problems, including excessive hospitalizations.
Kentucky's embrace of the Affordable Care Act, known here as kynect, and the subsequent Medicaid expansion, will improve the state's dismal health rankings, said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes.
"Now we must ensure quality, coordination and continuity of care as patients receive health care services, transition between providers, and return home," she said. "This project will help identify best practices for transitional care, which will play a pivotal role in improving health care outcomes in Kentucky."
Project researchers will study patient characteristics, care settings, and other factors to determine which transitional care services work best for whom and under what circumstances.
"Each year more than 33 million Americans make this difficult journey from the hospital bed to the post-acute setting to home and community-based care and, all too often, back again," said Glen P. Mays, an endowed professor in the UK College of Public Health. "Our team will bring together the best possible data and analytic methods to answer these questions. From public health and economic perspectives, there is no health care delivery quandary more important to solve than this one."