Patients frequently encounter questions or problems shortly after discharge. Telephone follow‐up has become an essential part of transitions of care interventions to address postdischarge problems, increase patient satisfaction, and decrease readmission rate. There is no consensus on who should make telephone follow‐up calls. The objective of this study was to describe the frequency and types of problems encountered by discharged patients and to use this data to determine which health care professionals (nurse case manager, pharmacist, or physician) are best suited for making telephone follow‐up calls.
Patients discharged by hospitalists were surveyed within 96 hours of discharge using a standard phone script. The script included questions about patient understanding of admission diagnosis, follow‐up plan, medication changes, and if they had any new or worsening symptoms. Patient satisfaction with telephone follow‐up was also recorded on a scale from 1 to 5. Questions and problems encountered by patients were categorized into 4 groups: social issues, medication questions, follow‐up questions, and new or worsening symptoms. The appropriate resource to make the phone call (nurse case manager, physician, or pharmacist) was determined by based on the type and complexity of questions.
Twenty‐four percent of patients had questions or problems within 96 hours of discharge (questions from 21 of 90 patients surveyed). Thirty‐three percent of questions were related to social issues, 29% to medication, 25% to follow‐up plan, and only 13% to new or worsening symptoms. Eighty‐eight percent of questions could be addressed without the expertise of a physician either by nurse case manager or a pharmacist. Eighty‐seven percent of patients indicated the telephone follow‐up was either useful or very useful (4 or 5 on a scale from 1 to 5).
Postdischarge questions are common, and they can be addressed through a telephone follow‐up call made by a nurse case manager or a pharmacist.
M. Taha ‐ KU, none; A. Pal ‐ KU, none