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Am J Med Qual. 2014 Nov-Dec;29(6):476-83. doi: 10.1177/1062860613503982. Epub 2013 Sep 19.

The seamless transfer of care: a pilot study assessing the usability of an electronic transfer of care communication tool.

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University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the feasibility of implementing a new electronic transfer of care (TOC) tool. The study was conducted in a Canadian tertiary care center. Brief survey instruments were completed by acute care physicians, community-based physicians, and patients to assess providers' perspectives on the usability of the novel electronic tool. The units of analysis were physician and patient perceptions. Mixed methods were used including descriptive statistical analyses and qualitative thematic analysis. Twenty-eight unique acute care physicians completed 100 electronic TOC summaries, and 44 unique community-based physicians rated quality and pertinence of the summaries. Twenty-two patients responded to a follow-up telephone call. The novel TOC communication tool was generally well received by physicians and patients, and it is now being evaluated in a large-scale clinical trial assessing hard clinical outcomes. The information presented herein provides a template for assessment of such information system innovations.


electronic health records; medical informatics; quality of discharge summary; transitions of care

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