Discharge Phone Calls: A Technique to Improve Patient Care During the Transition From Hospital to Home


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Abstract

The discharge process is a transitional period when the patient's care is shifted from the hospital to the home and can be stressful for patients. One technique used to improve the quality and continuity of care is the discharge phone call (DPC). A large, metropolitan hospital implemented the DPC program to improve quality of care and decrease readmission rates. Qualitative interviews were performed with 24 hospital leaders, managers, and staff to determine the impact of the DPC program on the quality of care during the discharge process. Interviewees responded that the main benefits to the DPCs related to patient's medication management, follow-up appointment reminders, and answering questions. From a hospital perspective, the DPC can provide feedback to help improve the care delivery process related to discharge planning through improved discharge instructions and reinforcement of prescribed steps upon the patient's return home.

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