We are discharging you from the hospital. Try not to die.
Please do yourself a favor and read this article from the Washington Post. The article is important, but it fails to capture the enormity of the problem.
Bottom line: When a patient transitions out of the hospital, the risk for preventable catastrophic medication errors goes through the roof. Yet, hospitals and physician offices are doing a terrible, awful, no-good job at communication.
The risk for failing to track serious issues becomes dangerously high:
“That lung nodule we found in the ER CT scan still hasn’t been worked up.”
“Your liver enzymes were really bad looking on discharge.”
Medications are radically changed in a hospital stay:
“Should I be on Xarelto AND Warfarin?”
“Should I stay on my Lisinopril with my Losartan and extra potassium?
Getting a discharge medication list into the hands of the receiving doctor or nurse is often impossible.
Getting a medical summary of any sort often takes a miracle. Getting a summary that has useful information is even more impossible.
Hospitals admit and discharge patients at supersonic speeds. Many tests are run and changes are made. Patients leave feeling bewildered.
A good hand off prevents death and injury.
Many hospitals spend all their time concentrating on arcane “metrics,” but consider communication with the receiving doctor to be a waste of time.
If your hospital is doing a good job, tell them.
If it is doing a bad job, scream loud and keep on screaming.
Your patient’s life depends on it.Tweet