A new tool to improve patient hand-offs has reduced readmissions by 50 percent and the time it takes to move a patient from the emergency department to an inpatient unit by 33 percent.
Designed to combat data that shows an estimated 80 percent of serious medical errors stemming from miscommunication between caregivers when patients are transferred or handed off, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare (JCCTH) has released a new Hand-off Communications Targeted Solutions Tool™ (TST) tool. The tool measures how healthcare organizations pass necessary and critical information about patients from one caregiver to the next, or from one team of caregivers to another, during the critical hand-off, or transition, period. It then provides solutions to improve performance, officials say.
In addition to reducing hospitalization and readmissions time, healthcare organizations have also reported an increase in patient and family satisfaction, staff satisfaction and successful transfers of patients.
Researchers note that there is no official guide for what constitutes a successful hand-off. The TST will hopefully align expectations by providing tested and validated measurement systems, identifying areas of focus for specific hand-off situations, and provide communication guidelines for involved parties.
Healthcare organizations were able to complete their hand-off communications project in approximately four months, using minimal resources, TST officials say.
All of the hand-off communications solutions that were developed by the center and the leading hospitals can be found on the Joint Commission Center Web site. The targeted hand-off solutions from the center, which are described using the acronym SHARE, address the specific causes of unsuccessful hand-offs.
Source: Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, June 27, 2012
In Guide to Reducing Medicare Readmissions, Vol. II, innovative interventions to reduce preventable admissions, rehospitalizations and ER visits by high-utilizing Medicare beneficiaries are examined. This guide looks at four multidisciplinary collaborative interventions aimed at key factors fueling readmissions in this population — and that support an accountable care vision.