Care transitions are top of mind for many of us in today’s healthcare industry. We know that the Care Transitions domain is one of the top corollaries to the HCAHPS “Overall Rating” driven by a heightened focus on safety during these critical times. When transitions (handovers) are done well, organizations find a reduction in serious medical errors and readmission rates in key patient populations.
What does the data tell us? A recent study by The Joint Commission (2017) reported that 80 percent of serious medical errors involve miscommunication when a patient is transitioning. Safe transitions of care require a multi-faceted, comprehensive treatment plan that is unique to the patient and considers his specific needs. The complexity of this tailored approach highlights the need for an increased focus on care transitions.
Here are a few diagnostic questions that will assist you in determining the current state and reliability of your care transitions process.
If any of your answers to the above questions suggest you have opportunity to improve your care transitions, my best advice is to hardwire a post-discharge call process. Transitions of care are high-risk for our patients, and post-discharge calls allow us to ensure the patient is doing well and provide early intervention if needed. Discharge calls also help in gathering important information for improvement or recognition of high-performing staff.
Diana Topjian, RN, MSN, DM, C-ENP is a Studer Group coach with more than 30 years of experience ranging from direct-line staff nurse to executive leadership roles in both academic and community-based hospitals.
Add Value to Post-Discharge Calls
Already have a post-discharge call process in place? Here are a few tips to make calls even more impactful.