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The Housestaff Incentive Program: improving the timeliness and quality of discharge summaries by engaging residents in quality improvement
  1. Kara Bischoff1,
  2. Aparna Goel1,
  3. Harry Hollander2,
  4. Sumant R Ranji1,
  5. Michelle Mourad1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle Mourad, Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave, M1287, Box 0131, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA; Michelle.Mourad{at}ucsf.eduThis article was a poster presentation at the 2011 AAMC Integrating Quality Meeting

Abstract

Background Quality improvement has become increasingly important in the practice of medicine; however, engaging residents in meaningful projects within the demanding training environment remains challenging.

Methods We conducted a year-long quality improvement project involving internal medicine residents at an academic medical centre. Resident champions designed and implemented a discharge summary improvement bundle, which employed an educational curriculum, an electronic discharge summary template, regular data feedback and a financial incentive. The timeliness and quality of discharge summaries were measured before and after the intervention. Residents and faculty were surveyed about their perceptions of the project; primary care providers were surveyed about their satisfaction with hospital provider communication.

Results With implementation of the bundle, the average time from patient discharge to completion of the discharge summary fell from 3.5 to 0.61 days (p<0.001). The percentage of summaries completed on the day of discharge rose from 38% to 83% (p<0.001) and this improvement was sustained for 6 months following the end of the project. The percentage of summaries that included all recommended elements increased from 5% to 88% (p<0.001). Primary care providers reported a lower likelihood of discharge summaries being unavailable at the time of outpatient follow-up (38% to 4%, p<0.001). Residents reported that the systems changes, more than the financial incentive, accounted for their behaviour change.

Conclusions Our discharge summary improvement project provides an instructive example of how residents can lead clinically meaningful quality improvement projects.

  • Quality improvement
  • Information technology
  • Financial incentives
  • Graduate medical education
  • Transitions in care

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