The Patient-Family Journey from Outpatient to Inpatient: Improving Quality and Safety With the Outpatient EMR and PCP Collaboration

By David J. Badolato, MD, in PSQH.

Most Americans agree that the healthcare system is in need of a major transformation to deliver value to all stakeholders; however, there are varying perspectives on what exactly is broken and how it needs to be fixed depending on each stakeholder’s definition of value. According to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, “an estimated 80% of serious medical errors involve miscommunication between caregivers during the transfer of patients” (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 2012).

In my view, this miscommunication is a result of two key issues in today’s healthcare system. The underuse of the medical summary derived from the outpatient electronic medical record (EMR) and the minimal communication between referring primary care physicians (PCP) and hospital providers have led to serious quality and safety implications for patients. Every touchpoint throughout a patient’s (and family’s) care journey can be positively impacted by optimal use of medical summaries and enhanced collaboration among healthcare professionals.

The majority of people seek to have their medical needs met at a primary care practice level; therefore, strategies and actions that improve safety, quality, and affordability for all stakeholders require highly focused attention and research to create new initiatives that can be readily implemented at that level.

Strong foundation: PCMH model

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