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Quality Corner - Strategies for improving Timeliness of Discharge Summary measure

LHP’s provider-led Clinical Collaboration and Performance Improvement (CCPI) committee recently reviewed performance data for the Timeliness of Discharge Summary within 48 Hours measure to identify improvement opportunities. This measure calculates the percentage of inpatients whose discharge summary was completed within 48 hours of discharge and is applicable to hospitalists, surgeons, cardiologists and OB/GYN providers in the LHP Network.

The purpose of this process measure is to ensure effective transition of care from inpatient to outpatient settings which will result in better, more-timely patient care and fewer readmissions. Since many discharge summaries are completed by physician extenders, all health care providers in the inpatient setting play an important role in completion of summaries within 48 hours of discharge.

As a network, LHP providers have not met the performance target on this measure in the past two years and current performance of 83.7% in 2018 is also falling short of the 85% year-end target. LHP is aware that not meeting this measure in the past has caused some frustration among LHP providers whose incentives were impacted, so we are eager to address this performance gap this year.

Urology (44.4%), General Surgery (53.3%), and Orthopedic (56%) specialties have some of the lowest rates of completing discharge summaries on time, so LHP is working particularly with surgeons to help raise performance at the network level.

Dr. Daniel Tseng – vice-chair of the CCPI committee and member of LHP’s Quality & Membership committee – recently shared data with Legacy’s surgical department chairs, encouraging them to communicate specifically with orthopedic, urology, and general surgery sections leaders at their Legacy facilities. Raising awareness of the measure and sharing completion rates by specialty and by hospital site will promote the importance of continuity of care for patients and support improved performance on the measure. 

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