Evaluation of an enhanced discharge summary template: Building a better handoff document

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Objective: To design and implement an enhanced discharge summary for use by internal medicine providers and evaluate its impact. Methods. Pre/postintervention study in which discharge summaries created in the 3 months before (n = 57) and 3 months after (n = 57) introduction of an enhanced discharge summary template were assessed using a 24item scoring instrument. Measures evaluated included a composite discharge summary quality score, individual content item scores, global rating score, redundant documentation of consultants and procedures, documentation of nonactive conditions, discharge summary word count, and time to completion. Physician satisfaction with the enhanced discharge summary was evaluated by survey. Results: The composite discharge summary quality score increased following the intervention (19.07 vs. 13.37, P #x0003C; 0.001). Ten items showed improved documentation, including documented need for followup tests, cognitive status, code status, and communication with the next provider. The global rating score improved from 3.04 to 3.46 (P = 0.01). Discharge summary word count decreased from 717 to 701 (P = 0.002), with no change in the time to discharge summary completion. Surveyed physicians reported improved satisfaction with the enhanced discharge summary compared with the prior template. Conclusion: An enhanced discharge summary, designed to serve as a handoff between inpatient and outpatient providers, improved quality without negative effects on document length, time to completion, or physician satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Outcomes Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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