Scientific article
Open access

Navigating outpatient care of patients with type 2 diabetes after hospital discharge - a qualitative longitudinal study

Published inBMC health services research, vol. 24, no. 1, 476
Publication date2024-04-17
First online date2024-04-17


The transition from hospital to outpatient care is a particularly vulnerable period for patients as they move from regular health monitoring to self-management. This study aimed to map and investigate the journey of patients with polymorbidities, including type 2 diabetes (T2D), in the 2 months following hospital discharge and examine patients’ encounters with healthcare professionals (HCPs).


Patients discharged with T2D and at least two other comorbidities were recruited during hospitalization. This qualitative longitudinal study consisted of four semi-structured interviews per participant conducted from discharge up to 2 months after discharge. The interviews were based on a guide, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. Patient journeys through the healthcare system were represented using the patient journey mapping methodology.


Seventy-five interviews with 21 participants were conducted from October 2020 to July 2021. The participants had a median of 11 encounters (min–max: 6–28) with HCPs. The patient journey was categorized into six key steps: hospitalization, discharge, dispensing prescribed medications by the community pharmacist, follow-up calls, the first medical appointment, and outpatient care.


The outpatient journey in the 2 months following discharge is a complex and adaptive process. Despite the active role of numerous HCPs, navigation in outpatient care after discharge relies heavily on the involvement and responsibilities of patients. Preparation for discharge, post-hospitalization follow-up, and the first visit to the pharmacy and general practitioner are key moments for carefully considering patient care. Our findings underline the need for clarified roles and a standardized approach to discharge planning and post-discharge care in partnership with patients, family caregivers, and all stakeholders involved.

  • Hospital discharge
  • Outpatient care
  • Qualitative research
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Citation (ISO format)
SOLH DOST, Léa et al. Navigating outpatient care of patients with type 2 diabetes after hospital discharge - a qualitative longitudinal study. In: BMC health services research, 2024, vol. 24, n° 1, p. 476. doi: 10.1186/s12913-024-10959-4
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ISSN of the journal1472-6963

Technical informations

Creation04/21/2024 10:08:31 PM
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