Checklists may help reduce discharge errors; however, current paper checklists have limited functionality. In 2013 a best-practice discharge checklist using the electronic health record (EHR) was developed and evaluated at Stanford University Medical Center (Stanford, California) in a cluster randomized trial to evaluate its usage, user satisfaction, and impact on physicians' work flow.The study was divided into four phases.In Phase I, on the survey (N = 76), most of the participants (54.0%) reported using memory to remember discharge tasks. On a 0-100 scale, perception of checklists as being useful was strong (mean, 66.4; standard deviation [SD], 21.2), as was interest in EHR checklists (64.5, 26.6). In Phase II, the checklist consisted of 15 tasks categorized by admission, hospitalization, and discharge-planning. In Phase III, the checklist was implemented as an EHR "smart-phrase" allowing for automatic insertion. In Phase IV, in a trial with 60 participating physicians, 23 EHR checklist users reported higher usage than 12 paper users (28.5 versus 7.67, p = .019), as well as higher checklist integration with work flow (22.6 versus 1.67, p = .014), usefulness of checklist (33.7 versus. 8.92, p = .041), discharge confidence (30.8 versus 5.00, p = .029), and discharge efficiency (25.5 versus 6.67, p = .056). Increasing EHR checklist use was correlated with usefulness ( r = .85, p < .001), confidence (r = .81, p < .001), and efficiency (r = .87, p < .001).The EHR checklist reminded physicians to complete discharge tasks, improved confidence, and increased process efficiency. This is the first study to show that medicine residents use "memory" as the most common method for remembering discharge tasks. These data reinforce the need for a formalized tool, such as a checklist, that residents can rely on to complete important discharge tasks.
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