Two new studies from the Yale University School of Medicine say that hospitals can cut readmissions and speed patient recoveries by promptly getting discharge summaries to patients’ physicians. This seems mere common sense, but, as the old cliche goes, common sense often isn’t that common.
“Improvements in all aspects of discharge summary quality are necessary to enable the discharge summary to serve as an effective transitional care tool,” the authors wrote.
“If you discharge a patient from the hospital and the physician that is now going to be following them is not given a discharge summary that is accurate and complete, then [the doctor is] going to screw things up,” Steven Wolfson, M.D., a New Haven cardiologist uninvolved in either study told the New Haven Register. These transitions are particularly dangerous for patients, he said, because “[i]t’s like crossing an international boundary … largely because the information flow is critical and it’s often very poor.”