Identification and Prevention of Potentially Inappropriate Inter-hospital Transfers
Stephanie Mueller, MD, MPH (Brigham and Women’s Hospital)
Inter-hospital transfer (IHT, the transfer of patients from one acute care hospital to another) is common among hospitalized medical patients. Despite this, there is a dearth of guidelines or data to help direct best practices regarding which patients most benefit from transfer, or conversely, which patients may be exposed to the risks of discontinuity of care without clear benefit from care received following transfer (i.e., undergo potentially inappropriate IHT). Without a reliable method for defining and determining the presence of potentially inappropriate IHT across many organizations, it is not otherwise possible to understand the safety impact of these transfers, to create and optimize future solutions to reduce inappropriate transfers, or to directly test the effects of these solutions on patient outcomes.
The AHRQ-funded Identification and Prevention of Potentially Inappropriate Inter-hospital Transfers study addresses these issues by seeking to accurately define and estimate the incidence and patient safety impact of potentially inappropriate IHT among medical patients who have undergone transfer to a large network of US hospitals, characterize and identify at-risk patients, and develop a toolkit of best practices to reduce potentially inappropriate IHT for future dissemination (e.g., by replacing it with safer alternatives).