A recent study documented what healthcare professionals have suspected for years: that communication breaks down somewhere between hospital discharge and outpatient follow-up. At best, it was unclear who was responsible for post-discharge testing or home healthcare. At worst, primary care physicians didn’t know their patients had been admitted at all.
With nearly 80 percent of serious medical errors involving miscommunication during patient transfers, it’s time to close this dangerous communication gap. A well-designed patient navigation program can reduce readmissions, improve outcomes and keep your patients in network.
Successful handoff between the hospital and ambulatory setting, then, is a key target point for efforts to reduce hospital readmissions and measurably improve outcomes. Further, from a patient-satisfaction standpoint, the weeks following hospital discharge may be filled with uncertainty and confusion.
Beyond the heightened readmission risk, these crucial weeks may also be fraught with potential to seek treatment from other hospitals or providers. Administrators are beginning to pin their hopes on patient navigation programs to improve outcomes and keep patients in network. At this early stage, however, strategies and results are all over the map.
To help chart a course, this sponsored white paper from DocHalo, a provider of secure messaging for clinicians explores the emerging landscape of patient navigation and outlines five steps that will help providers close the most dangerous communication gap in the hospital.