The Graduate Medical Education (GME) committee is composed of all Jefferson residency and fellowship program directors, as well as ten selected housestaff members. The committee meets monthly to discuss a wide array of topics, including Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education compliance, duty hours violations, and program reviews. One recently covered topic was the timeliness of discharge summary dictations. Implementing changes to improve transitions of care remains a focus of all healthcare systems. Jefferson is attempting to take an innovative approach to this issue, and discharge summaries are only one of the areas being examined.
The current policy requires house staff to dictate the discharge summary within 14 days of discharge. Delinquent summaries receive a monetary fine on a weekly basis. Attending physicians have up to 120 days from discharge to finalize the summary, which is currently not in line with the Joint Commission mandate of finalized summaries within 30 days of hospital discharge. With increasing emphasis on early outpatient follow-up, many primary care physicians are seeing patients prior to having access to the discharge summary. Because of the disparity between the current policy and goal of timely clinical follow-up, Jefferson is examining the current timeline to address this issue.
Curl, MD, Kevin M.
"Discharge Summaries: How Long Is Too Long?,"
The Medicine Forum:
Vol. 14, Article 23.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/tmf/vol14/iss1/23