Recommendations for the Design and Delivery of Transitions-Focused Digital Health Interventions: Rapid Review

Hardeep Singh, Terence Tang, Carolyn Steele Gray, Kristina Kokorelias, Rachel Thombs, Donna Plett, Matthew Heffernan, Carlotta M Jarach, Alana Armas, Susan Law, Heather V Cunningham, Jason Xin Nie, Moriah E Ellen, Kednapa Thavorn, Michelle LA Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Older adults experience a high risk of adverse events during hospital-to-home transitions. Implementation barriers have prevented widespread clinical uptake of the various digital health technologies that aim to support hospital-to-home transitions.

OBJECTIVE: To guide the development of a digital health intervention to support transitions from hospital to home (the Digital Bridge intervention), the specific objectives of this review were to describe the various roles and functions of health care providers supporting hospital-to-home transitions for older adults, allowing future technologies to be more targeted to support their work; describe the types of digital health interventions used to facilitate the transition from hospital to home for older adults and elucidate how these interventions support the roles and functions of providers; describe the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these interventions; and identify opportunities to improve the fit between technology and provider functions within the Digital Bridge intervention and other transition-focused digital health interventions.

METHODS: This 2-phase rapid review involved a selective review of providers' roles and their functions during hospital-to-home transitions (phase 1) and a structured literature review on digital health interventions used to support older adults' hospital-to-home transitions (phase 2). During the analysis, the technology functions identified in phase 2 were linked to the provider roles and functions identified in phase 1.

RESULTS: In phase 1, various provider roles were identified that facilitated hospital-to-home transitions, including navigation-specific roles and the roles of nurses and physicians. The key transition functions performed by providers were related to the 3 categories of continuity of care (ie, informational, management, and relational continuity). Phase 2, included articles (n=142) that reported digital health interventions targeting various medical conditions or groups. Most digital health interventions supported management continuity (eg, follow-up, assessment, and monitoring of patients' status after hospital discharge), whereas informational and relational continuity were the least supported. The lessons learned from the interventions were categorized into technology- and research-related challenges and opportunities and informed several recommendations to guide the design of transition-focused digital health interventions.

CONCLUSIONS: This review highlights the need for Digital Bridge and other digital health interventions to align the design and delivery of digital health interventions with provider functions, design and test interventions with older adults, and examine multilevel outcomes.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35929
JournalJMIR Aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 19 May 2022


  • aged
  • health
  • medical informatics
  • mobile phone
  • transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Health Informatics
  • Health(social science)


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