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Improving Care Transition Communications in Rhode Island

An interesting study by the nonprofit consulting firm Healthcentric Advisors recently shed light on the issue of poor communication during transfers of care in Rhode Island.

“What happens when you are hospitalized, but your outpatient doctor does not know? Or when you arrive at the office for follow-up care, but your doctor does not have the right information about your hospital stay? Missing or incomplete communication from hospitals to outpatient primary care physicians (PCPs) can contribute to poor experiences and lead to hospital readmissions.”

Healthcentric Advisors set out to improve those statistics by measuring how well hospitals adhere to their own policies and standards, and reporting the results back to the staff at 10 hospitals here in Rhode Island. The results of that quality improvement technique (called audit and feedback) were very impressive:

  • “Clinical information sent at discharge increased from 30 percent to 94 percent
  • Hospital clinicians’ contact information provided at discharge increased from 63 percent to 97 percent
  • Notification of hospitalization increased from 82 percent to 87 percent”

On top of that, scheduling of follow-up appointments almost doubled, and hospital readmission rates dropped by more than 18 percent during that time frame.

It’s pretty remarkable how such a simple process can result in such huge improvements in care.  Let’s hope hospital staff keep up their improved communication and continue find ways to better the care patients receive. The study’s organizers acknowledge there is still room to improve, especially with regard to care providers’ communication with their patients and their caregivers.

Read the whole article here: Can data motivate hospital leaders to improve care transitions?

Heffner & Associates, Elder Care Law & Estate Planning

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