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Nurses revamp discharge summaries

June 29, 2015
by Richard R. Rogoski
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A study led by Sharon Hewner, PhD, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Nursing is aimed at revamping the hospital discharge process through automation. This could result in speeding up the time it takes a primary care provider or post-acute care facility to get a patient’s discharge summary from days or weeks to hours.

“It takes too long to get the information to primary care,” Hewner said in a press release. “If the summary comes in three weeks after the person has been discharged from a hospital, the chances are pretty good that they’ve already been back, either to the emergency room or for hospitalization.”

Automating the process would also allow the adding of critical data from nurses, social workers and therapists that are often not included in the discharge summary, she added.

To ensure that the new electronic summary is compatible with existing electronic health record software, Hewner is modeling the summary on the continuity of care document created by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.