How Effectively Do Discharge Summaries Reduce Hospital Readmissions Risk? | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

How Effectively Do Discharge Summaries Reduce Hospital Readmissions Risk?

January 16, 2015
by John DeGaspari
| Reprints
Yale studies look at heart failure patients making the transition from hospital to home

Two studies from the Yale School of Medicine have determined that discharge summaries can help to reduce the risk of readmissions, but with some caveats. The findings have been published in the journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

According to an report in Yale News, the researchers analyzed data from Telemonitoring to Improve Heart Failure Outcomes (Tele-HF), a large multicenter study of patients hospitalized with heart failure, which contained more than 1,500 discharge summaries from 46 hospitals across the country.

The lead author of one of the studies, Leora Horwitz, M.D., adjunct professor of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science at New York University Medical Center, says the medical community has not made full use of discharge summaries as a tool for transitions. She says discharge summaries need to do three things to make the transition from hospital to home safer: timeliness, be sent to the outside physician, and include useful information.

As noted in the Yale News story, Horwitz and her team were surprised by the results of the first study. They expected the summaries to be similar at all the hospitals they analyzed, but they found that hospitals varied widely in their performance. The quality of discharge summaries was insufficient in terms of timeliness, transmission, and content, even in the highest performing hospitals, and no hospital consistently produced high-quality summaries in all domains.

The focus of the second study, which used the same data from Tele-HF, looked at whether improving hospital practices regarding discharge summaries made a difference in hospital readmissions. It found that discharge summary quality was indeed associated with readmission risk, and that patients whose summaries included useful content or were sent to outside clinicians had lower readmission rates.

 

Topics

News

Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.