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Novel combined patient instruction and discharge summary tool improves timeliness of documentation and outpatient provider satisfaction.

Gilliam M, Krein SL, Belanger K, Fowler KE, Dimcheff DE, Solomon G. Novel combined patient instruction and discharge summary tool improves timeliness of documentation and outpatient provider satisfaction. SAGE open medicine. 2017 Mar 29; 5:2050312117701053.

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BACKGROUND: Incomplete or delayed access to discharge information by outpatient providers and patients contributes to discontinuity of care and poor outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a new electronic discharge summary tool on the timeliness of documentation and communication with outpatient providers. METHODS: In June 2012, we implemented an electronic discharge summary tool at our 145-bed university-affiliated Veterans Affairs hospital. The tool facilitates completion of a comprehensive discharge summary note that is available for patients and outpatient medical providers at the time of hospital discharge. Discharge summary note availability, outpatient provider satisfaction, and time between the decision to discharge a patient and discharge note completion were all evaluated before and after implementation of the tool. RESULTS: The percentage of discharge summary notes completed by the time of first post-discharge clinical contact improved from 43% in February 2012 to 100% in September 2012 and was maintained at 100% in 2014. A survey of 22 outpatient providers showed that 90% preferred the new summary and 86% found it comprehensive. Despite increasing required documentation, the time required to discharge a patient, from physician decision to discharge note completion, improved from 5.6 h in 2010 to 4.1 h in 2012 (p = 0.04), and to 2.8 h in 2015 (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The implementation of a novel discharge summary tool improved the timeliness and comprehensiveness of discharge information as needed for the delivery of appropriate, high-quality follow-up care, without adversely affecting the efficiency of the discharge process.

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