And every link, or handoff, takes time, costs money, and poses a risk of problems with information transfer. One weak link can jeopardize a patient's health and safety.
But new research results show that a unique computer system developed and implemented at the University of Michigan Health System can strengthen the entire chain. The system, in turn, reduces risks while saving time and money, and improves the quality and continuity of patient care, and patients' education and satisfaction.
The secure, Web-based system creates a virtual workspace for all members of a patient's in-hospital health care team, and gives information automatically, quickly and accurately to those who will care for the patient when he or she goes home.
At the annual meeting of the Society for General Internal Medicine here on May 15, U-M researchers will demonstrate the system, called the Discharge Navigator, and discuss the randomized, controlled study involving 700 patients that shows its value.
Among their findings: The system reduced by six days the time it took for a patient's personal physician to get a report on the patient's hospital stay; far more information was entered into a patient's record for current and future use; physicians had to dictate 77 percent fewer discharge reports; transcription costs dropped accordingly; and patient satisfaction scores on post-hospitalization surveys jumped substantially.
The four-month trial involved two hospital units where the Discharge Navigator was added to the U-M's existing el
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System