Ask ECRI: Transferring Patients to a Higher Level of Care

March 21, 2024 | Ambulatory Care Risk Management


A member recently asked for best practice guidelines for transferring patients to a higher level of care, specifically when transferring a patient from an urgent care center to the emergency department (ED). In our response we discuss patient handoffs and the importance of effective communication.

The organization should ensure that their emergency management plan includes treatment protocols, algorithms, and decision trees for certain clinical conditions that require transfer to a higher level of care. The plan should detail what actions should be taken, including contacting the ED and providing important information about the patient and their diagnosis, condition, and other pertinent details (e.g., how the patient will be arriving at the ED, known allergies, test results). This process is known...

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