Lack of Post-Discharge Communication Puts Patients at Risk
Home caregivers in Colorado say clinical information needed to treat the patient is frequently lacking when patients are discharged from hospitals to home healthcare, according to a recent survey. However, when the discharging hospitals use electronic health records (EHRs), the quality and volume of accompanying clinical information is much better, according to the same survey.
A survey of home health workers conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found that 60 percent of respondents said they had not received enough information to guide patient treatment, and 44 percent reported issues with inadequate information for a patient. The survey findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.
“Additional tests recommended by hospital clinicians was the communication domain most frequently identified as insufficient (58 percent),” the study states. “More than half of respondents (52 percent) indicated that patient preparation to receive HHC [home healthcare] was inadequate, with patient expectations frequently including extended-hours caregiving, housekeeping, and transportation, which are beyond the scope of HHC.”
However, home care providers with access to EHRs from referring providers said they were less likely to have problems with insufficient documentation than those without EHR access. According to the study, 57 percent with EHR access said the information they received was adequate versus 27 percent who had no such access.
Christine Jones, MD, assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and lead author of the study, told Health Data Management that “Almost all (96 percent) indicated that Internet-based access to a patient’s hospital record would be at least somewhat useful. However, fewer than half reported having access to EHRs for referring hospitals or clinics.”