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Concern over patient safety issues associated with inadequate tracking of test results has grown over the last decade, as it can lead to delays in the recognition of abnormal test results and the absence of a tracking system to ensure short-term patient follow-up.1,2 Missed abnormal tests and the lack of necessary clinical follow-up can lead to a late diagnosis.
Seeking a sustainable process to enhance their hospitals’ response to sepsis, a multidisciplinary team at WellSpan Health oversaw the development and implementation of a system that uses customized electronic health record (EHR) alert settings and a team of remote nurses to help frontline staff identify and respond to patients showing signs of sepsis. When the remote nurses, or Central Alerts Team (CAT), receive an alert, they assess the patient’s information and collaborate with the clinical care team to recommend a response.
With increasing recognition that health is linked to the conditions in which a patient lives, health systems are looking for innovative ways to support recently discharged patients in their lives outside of the hospital. In a recent innovation, Prime Healthcare Services, Inc., which includes a network of 45 hospitals, provided social needs assessments and strengthened its partnerships with community agencies to support the health of high-needs patients after their discharge from the hospital.
Appropriate follow-up of incidental abnormal radiological findings is an ongoing patient safety challenge. Inadequate follow-up can contribute to missed or delayed diagnosis, potentially resulting in poorer patient outcomes. This study describes implementation of an electronic health record-based referral system for patients with incidental radiologic finding in the emergency room.
Studies show that home visits to patients recently discharged from the hospital can help prevent unnecessary readmission.1 Providing continuing care instructions to patients in their homes—where they may be less overwhelmed than in the hospital—may also be a key mechanism for preventing readmission.2 Home visit clinicians and technicians can note any health concerns in the home environment and help patients understand their care plan in the context of that environment.2
An increasing volume of patients presenting for acute care can create a need for more ICU beds and intensivists and lead to longer wait times and boarding of critically ill patients in the emergency department (ED).1 Data suggest that boarding of critically ill patients for more than 6 hours in the emergency department leads to poorer outcomes and increased mortality.2,3 To address this issue, University of Michigan Health, part of Michigan Medicine, developed an ED-based ICU, the first of its kind, in its 1,000-bed adult hospital.
ECHO-Care Transitions (ECHO-CT) intends to ensure continuity of care and alleviate the risk of patient safety issues, notably medication errors, occurring because of hospital transition. With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) adapted Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to connect receiving multidisciplinary skilled nursing facility (SNF) teams with a multidisciplinary team at the discharging hospital.
The MOQI seeks to reduce avoidable hospitalization among nursing home residents by placing an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) within the care team with the goal of early identification of resident decline. In addition to the APRN, the MOQI involves nursing home teams focused on use of tools to better detect acute changes in resident status, smoother transitions between hospitals and nursing homes, end-of-life care, and use of health information technology to facilitate communication with peers. As a result of the innovation, resident hospitalizations declined.
The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care.
The Hospital at Homesm program provides hospital-level care (including daily physician and nurse visits, diagnostic testing, treatment, and other support) in a patient's home as a full substitute for acute hospital care for selected conditions that are common among seniors. Studies have shown that the Hospital at Home program results in lower length of stay, costs, readmission rates, and complications than does traditional inpatient care, and surveys indicate higher levels of patient and family member satisfaction than with traditional care.
Social worker/nurse practitioner teams collaborate with a larger interdisciplinary team and primary care physicians to develop and implement individualized care plans for seniors and other high-risk patients. The social worker/nurse practitioner team also proactively manages and coordinates the patient's care on an ongoing basis through regular telephone and in-person contact with both patients and providers.
Under a program known as the Care Transitions Intervention ®, a Transitions Coach ® encourages patients who are transferring from either a hospital or a short-term skilled nursing facility stay to home to assert a more active role in their self-care. The program has consistently reduced 30-day hospital readmissions and costs as well as 180-day hospital readmissions, even in heavily penetrated Medicare Advantage markets in which the reduction of hospital use has been an explicit focus for many years.
Formerly known as the Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) High-Risk Pregnancy Program links clinicians and patients across the state with UAMS, where the vast majority of the state's high-risk pregnancy services, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and prenatal genetic counselors are located.
The Support and Services at Home (SASH®) program provides onsite assistance to help senior citizens (and other Medicare beneficiaries) remain in their homes as they age. Using evidence-based practices, a multidisciplinary, onsite team conducts an initial health assessment, creates an individualized care plan based on each participant’s self-identified goals, provides onsite nursing and care coordination with local partners, and schedules community activities to support health and wellness.