To increase the frequency of communication of patient information between acute and primary care providers. A secondary objective was to determine whether higher rates of communication were associated with lower rates of hospital readmission 30 days after discharge.
A validated instrument was used for telephone surveys before and after an intervention designed to increase the frequency of communication among acute care and primary care providers. The communication intervention was implemented in 3 adult intensive care units from 2 campuses of an academic medical center.
The frequency of communication among acute care and primary care providers, the perceived usefulness of the intervention, and its association with 30-day readmission rates were assessed for 202 adult intensive care episodes before and 100 episodes after a communication intervention. The frequency of documented communication increased significantly (5/202 or 2% before to 72/100 or 72% after the intervention; P < .001) and the communication was considered useful by every participating primary care provider. Rates of rehospitalization at 30 days were lower for the intervention group than the preintervention group, but the difference was not statistically significant (41/202 or 23% vs 16/88 or 18% of discharged patients; P = .45; power 0.112 at P = .05).
The frequency of communication episodes that provide value can be increased through standardized processes. The key aspects of this effective intervention were setting the expectation that communication should occur, documenting when communication has occurred, and reviewing that documentation during multiprofessional rounds.