Brief Reports

Outpatient physicians' satisfaction with discharge summaries and perceived need for an electronic discharge summary




Deficits in information transfer between inpatient and outpatient physicians are common and potentially dangerous.


To evaluate satisfaction with current discharge summaries, perceptions of preventable adverse events related to suboptimal information transfer, and the perceived need for the electronic discharge summary we plan to design.


Survey of Department of Medicine physicians with an outpatient practice.


Satisfaction with timeliness and quality of discharge summaries was assessed using a 5‐point Likert scale. Respondents estimated the number of patients with preventable adverse events related to suboptimal information transfer at discharge.


Of the 416 eligible respondents, 226 completed the survey (54%). Only 19% of the participants were satisfied or very satisfied with timeliness, and only 32% were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of discharge summaries. Overall, 41% believed that at least 1 of their patients hospitalized in the previous 6 months had experienced a preventable adverse event related to poor transfer of information at discharge.


Physicians were not satisfied with the timeliness or quality of discharge summaries. Physicians indicated that suboptimal transfer of information at hospital discharge contributed to preventable adverse events. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2006;1:317–320. © 2006 Society of Hospital Medicine.

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