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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

The effects of a 'discharge time-out' on the quality of hospital discharge summaries.

Mohta N, Vaishnava P, Liang C, et al. BMJ quality & safety. 2012;21:885-90.

Adverse events after hospital discharge continue to plague patients despite interventions focusing on improved transitions from the inpatient setting. Communication of posthospital care, including tests pending at discharge, is a critical element of effective discharge summaries. This study implemented a quality improvement intervention by providing structured feedback on written discharge summaries and adopting a "discharge time out" to codify communication exchange prior to discharge. While documentation of tasks related to discharge were notably improved, integrating these interventions into attending rounds failed to improve other elements of written discharge summaries. The authors discuss the role of refining educational interventions that focus on discharge patients' safety. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed the role of postdischarge follow-up phone calls on safe care transitions.