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Cross-Continuum Collaboration in Health Care: Unleashing the Potential

Doctor patient healthcare

The Issue

As value-based payment in health care increasingly takes hold, many provider organizations are seeking to promote better health not just for individual patients but for entire populations. Such population-based health activities require collaboration among acute, postacute, and community care providers. In a commentary in Population Health Management, Saranya Loehrer, Douglas McCarthy, and Eric Coleman share lessons on effective collaboration across the continuum of care, drawing from the examples of providers across the nation that are engaged in efforts to reduce hospital readmissions.

Lessons from the Field

The authors suggest that effective collaboration among health care providers requires: 

  • a trusted convener, whether an individual or an organization
  • the cultivation of trust, through a focus on the benefits of the partnership and common goals 
  • a shared understanding of the challenges faced by each participant, achieved through site visits and shadowing activities 
  • starting small and building on early progress 
  • expanding the type and number of participants as needs arise
  • using both quantitative and qualitative data to identify opportunities for improvement and monitoring progress 
  • focusing on patients’ needs and experiences to help spur action.


While providers have much to gain from collaboration, the work involved can be challenging. To strengthen joint efforts on behalf of population health promotion, participants must focus on long-term goals and ensure that their activities produce value.

Read the article.

Publication Details



Saranya Loehrer, Director, Institute for Healthcare Improvement


S. Loehrer, D. McCarthy, and E. Coleman, “Cross-Continuum Collaboration in Health Care: Unleashing the Potential,” Population Health Management, published online April 28, 2015.