A new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine Communication confirms the common occurrence of communication breakdowns between hospital discharge and outpatient follow-up. The study also outlined the significant risks (such as overlooked test results and increased readmissions) these breakdowns present, and how “gaps in information-sharing” are often the cause.
Based on interviews with 58 clinicians, the study found, at best, there was a lack of clarity about responsibility for post-discharge testing and home healthcare. At worst, primary care physicians didn’t know their patients had been admitted into the hospital at all. With nearly 80% of serious medical errors involving miscommunication during patient transfer of care from inpatient status, it is clearly time to close this perilous communication gap.The Study, which was published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggests that well-designed patient navigation programs can reduce readmissions, improve outcomes and reduce outmigrations. The study also suggested multiple ways that care coordination between clinicians can contribute to a solution.