Insights

Elevating Communication During Care Transitions

by Jill Reeves, MHA on Jun 20, 2016

June 20, 2016 - Health System Management

The Effects of Consistent, Reliable Care Transitions on Clinical Care and Financial Outcomes

Care transitions—especially those that involve moving a patient from the acute to the post-acute setting—are often fraught with poor communication and a lack of cross-continuum information-sharing, resulting in care lapses that can lead to medical errors, unnecessary hospital readmissions and other negative clinical and financial consequences. However, forward-thinking organizations are realizing the importance of improving these transitional periods in order to reduce risk, boost care quality and sustain positive patient outcomes and satisfaction, even after a patient leaves the hospital.

Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC)—a locally owned, not-for-profit, public-benefit health system based in Fresno, Calif.—is one of these forward-thinking organizations that has committed to enhancing its care transitions. With four hospitals as well as several long-term and outpatient facilities, the organization is the region’s largest healthcare provider. It is home to the only Level 1 Trauma Center and comprehensive burn center between Los Angeles and Sacramento, and it is licensed for 900 beds, regularly seeing 95 to 100 percent occupancy. The center is constantly moving patients to other care settings, and because of its size and prominent role in the community, it recognizes how making care transitions more consistent and reliable could have far-reaching effects in terms of both clinical care and financial outcomes.

Encouraging Standardization

One of the reasons why care transitions have been so risky is that communication during these times has historically been uneven and unpredictable. To address this issue, CRMC aimed to standardize its processes for discharge communication as much as possible.

Meet the Author

Jill Reeves has more than 27 years of experience in the health-care industry and has worked exclusively in the fields of market research, statistical analysis and health-care interactive marketing. Before joining CQuence Health Group as marketing manager, Jill was director of communications and new media for PRC, a nationwide health-care market research organization. Jill earned a master's degree in health-care administration from Bellevue University and a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Nebraska in Kearney. She is a published author and avid student of social media and emerging communication trends.

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