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AMA Issues 5 Patient Safety Guidelines

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2013

The American Medical Association has outlined five key responsibilities physicians should adopt when providing care for patients recently discharged from the hospital.

The recommendations listed in the report were developed to improve safety and reduce hospital readmissions for patients returning home, according to the AMA Center for Patient Safety, which is attempting to build a bridge between inpatient and outpatient settings.

With the new guidelines, The Center for Patient Care study says it hopes to break a historic trend that left the responsibility for transition plans almost solely in the hands of the inpatient clinical teams.

"There has been relatively little attention paid to exploring specific roles and responsibilities for outpatient clinics and other ambulatory practices during care transitions," the study says.

"But one thing we know is that patients leaving the hospital too often return to ambulatory care settings that are not well connected to the hospital team and this can result in inefficient, confusing and sometimes unsafe conditions."

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4 comments on "AMA Issues 5 Patient Safety Guidelines"


Susanne Cookson (2/19/2013 at 3:54 PM)
In Canada we are pilot for CHF patients testing a patient education portal designed to provide a step-wise approach to providing education needed for patients to take personal ownership and control after they are discharged from hospital. The program provides education and health trackers for Congestive Heart Failure patients. It provides clear direction in terms of when to call the hospital, what to expect and norms, etc. the site records medication adherence through a meds reminder system. To ensure people use it, there is a rewards points system whereby patients earn points for engaging in the materials, answer comprehension questions, and using the tracker and medication reminders. Aggregate data is provided back to the hospital. The goal is to ensure that patients are well-informed post discharge and equipped to manage their condition.

John Fraser, MD (2/13/2013 at 11:55 AM)
This did not happen as often before healthcare became so compartmentalized. There was a time when physicians admitted most patients from their offices or the ED, managed their inpatient care, then resumed outpatient follow up care. The various handoffs these days increase the risk of important information not being transferred, not to mention multiple providers at different times not noticing subtle changes in the patient's condition.

Natalie Osborne (2/13/2013 at 8:33 AM)
As a nurse manager in a SNF, I have far too many times needed to send a patient back to the hospital because they are too unstable. If patients were stable when they left the hospital, I doubt we would see so many readmissions. It would also be beneficial for the patient coming to the SNF to be formally admitted to the hospital so they may receive the Medicare A benefit. So many patients come to the SNF and think "well, I was in the hospital, I had to be admitted" and that is not the case. Many times they are in observation only and if they are in observation for 3 nights, they will not receive the Medicare benefit.