Purpose: This study aimed to construct a management model for patient transfer in a multilevel healthcare system and to predict the effect of counseling with nurses on the patient transfer process. Methods: Data were collected from the electronic medical records of 20,400 patients using the referral system in a tertiary hospital in Seoul from May 2015 to April 2017. The data were analyzed using system dynamics methodology. Results: The rates of patients who were referred to a tertiary hospital, continued treatment, and were terminated treatment at a tertiary hospital were affected by the management fee and nursing staffing in a referral center that provided patient transfer counseling. Nursing staffing in a referral center had direct influence on the range of increase or decrease in the rates, whereas the management fee had direct influence on time. They were nonlinear relations that converged the value within a certain period. Conclusion: The management fee and nursing staffing in a referral center affect patient transfer counseling, and can improve the patient transfer process. Our findings suggest that nurses play an important role in ensuring smooth transitions between clinics and hospitals.
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