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Patient satisfaction upon discharge improved
Hospitalists, PCPs use communication software
When hospitalists use discharge communication software, patients and the outpatient doctors who carry out the care have better perceptions of the quality of the discharge process, according to new research published in the August issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.1
Compared to standard systems, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) software:
James Graumlich, MD, associate professor of medicine and clinical pharmacology, chair in the department of medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, is lead author of the study. Graumlich and his colleagues designed the software and studied the experience of 631 patients and 70 hospitalists who had used it between November 2004 and January 2007 in a teaching hospital in Illinois.
"We knew from studies that had been published before and a review done by AHRQ [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality] that there was a problem with communication between hospitalists and primary care physicians [PCPs]," says Graumlich, explaining the rationale for creating the software. "It was suggested that these barriers to communication were causing adverse events and/or readmissions to occur within one month."
The current study, he continues, was specifically designed to see if the CPOE software would improve communications. "It was designed to include what were thought to be the ideal components of the discharge process as far as communication is concerned — medication reconciliation; letting the PCP know what tests were pending at the time of discharge; what tests were required as part of follow-up; and letting the patient know what the follow-up appointment date was," Graumlich says. "All of this had been previously published in guidelines, but they had not been studied to see if it made a difference."
In the study, he notes, half of the patients received the usual paper discharge instructions, while the other received them using the CPOE software.
[For more information, contact: James Graumlich, MD, at (309) 655-7730.]