Skip to content

Geographic cohorting by clinical care team: A narrative review

Annals of Palliative Medicine July 31, 2023

Read the full article

Research Areas

PAIR Center Research Team

Headshot of Rachel Kohn

Rachel Kohn


Ryan Greysen


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Geographic cohorting refers to localization of inpatients to designated hospital areas (typically a unit or a set of beds) based on specified criteria. One such criterion that has been commonly discussed and studied since the early days of the hospitalist movement in the US is a patient’s assigned clinical care team. Because implementing cohorting of this type requires substantial operational investment, it is important to understand the benefits and the tradeoffs associated with bringing patients into closer spatial proximity with their full team of providers and allowing clinicians to work within a defined clinical space.

METHODS: We conducted a narrative review of the evidence around geographic cohorting of patients by clinical care team. We performed a comprehensive search of the PubMed, Embase, Cinahl and Scopus databases, identifying relevant English language articles. We used an inductive approach to developing thematic domains for categorization of article content.

KEY CONTENT AND FINDINGS: We reviewed eighteen articles published between 2008 and 2022, and identified four thematic outcomes domains: patient-centered outcomes, communication, efficiency, and satisfaction. The existing literature demonstrates associations with improved communication and staff satisfaction. The data regarding patient outcomes and overall work efficiency, on the other hand, are equivocal and, in general, limited by study methodology.

CONCLUSIONS: Geographic cohorting of inpatients according to clinical care team offers some promise for improved workplace culture. More rigorously designed studies are needed, however, to understand its impact on patient outcomes, and there should be added attention paid to throughput metrics and tradeoffs that often limit its implementation.


National Heart,Lung,and Blood Institute ( NHLBI)