Steps to Improve Transitions from Inpatient to Outpatient Care
March 22, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care
Transitioning from inpatient to outpatient care is a precarious time for patients, but there are many actions that the healthcare community can take to improve these transitions and, in turn, improve patient safety, according to an article in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Risk Management. Many patients, due to shorter hospital stays, need higher levels of care upon discharge, and the transfer of information from the hospital to the patient’s primary care provider is essential to providing safe care. Inadequate communication has been found to be a major reason behind medical errors after discharges. Discharge summaries have been noted to lack “vital” patient information, such as primary diagnosis, outstanding laboratory tests, recommended follow-up care, and patient education.