Oftentimes, I hear healthcare professionals confused over the differences between transition planning and move management.

Transition planning services are frequently associated with move management, and although both are typically applied during the construction phase of a project, the services are uniquely different with distinct deliverables.

Transition planning answers the “why and the how” questions related to the use of the new space, while move management is critical to answering the “what and when.” Transition planning services happen first and often phase into move management.   

The time lag between the last design development (DD) meetings and occupancy of the building typically brings different staff into the picture. The cornerstone of transition planning is helping users envision the design intent and “operationalize” the new physical environment.

It is important to recognize that staff, accustomed to their own habits and procedures, will move into a newly designed facility or space with their current work processes, which are usually what the new design was intended to improve upon or avoid completely.

In order to successfully open a new healthcare facility, it is critical to create and test future state workflows that are consistent with the intended vision, culture, technology, best practices, and physical design.  

Transition planning focuses on patient flows within and between departments, care model integration, communication, key workflows and processes, education, and standardization of the care environment. The dance between function and form is intricate and requires multidisciplinary team partnership and collaboration. 

Communication and a smooth hand-off between phases are central to project success and often the two teams will overlap, especially during activation drills. The following chart describes a few of the major deliverables that distinguish between transition planning and move management services.

Terry Thurston is the Director of Healthcare Operational Planning at BSA LifeStructures and brings more than 30 years of healthcare experience as an expert in operational, occupancy, and transition planning. Her experience as a chief nursing and patient safety officer allows her to bring a multi-faceted approach to designing safe and efficient healthcare facilities.