Rural Emergency Department Transfer Communication Measures

Transferring Critical Patient
Information from the ED to Other Care Settings

The Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) includes the Rural Emergency Department Transfer Communication measure (EDTC) for critical access hospitals to evaluate communications for transitions of care during emergency department (ED) transfers. Due to the lower volume of services provided in comparison with larger hospitals nationwide, this measure is more relevant as an indicator of performance and ability to provide quality care. The ED of rural hospitals is particularly important. ED transfer communication measures enable rural acute care facilities to demonstrate their ability to successfully stabilize and transfer patients.

Improved Communication and Documentation for Enhanced Quality of Care

The EDTC measures were developed by Stratis Health and the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, and endorsed by the National Quality Forum in 2007. The percentage of medical records meeting all EDTC data elements for participating CAHs rose from 28.26% to 44.13% during the course of the project – a 56% relative improvement rate. Data and results collected have been used to develop and implement action plans and improvements focused on better documentation and communication, improved quality of care, safety, and enhanced patient outcomes for ED patients.

EDTC Tools and Resources

Initial results indicate that adaptation of forms and documentation processes to help ensure collection of essential data and improved communications between emergency departments and receiving facilities, as well as between personnel and inter-facility relationships, are likely to improve the ongoing effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of the patient throughout the ED transfer process. A variety of effective EDTC tools and resources have been developed to assist CAHs with supporting the effective transfer of patient information from the emergency department to other facilities during transfer, as well as gathering data for submission to MBQIP, developing action plans based on data collected, transfer forms, evidence-based recommendations, and more.

More information, including data specifications, an audio overview, data collection tools, a training video, quality improvement toolkit, and tools for developing and implementing action plans and other MBQIP EDTC measures are available on the Stratis website.