The current research examined how often physicians recommended outpatient workups to discharged patients and subsequent completion rates for the recommended workups. Researchers first reviewed inpatient records at a single hospital over an 18-month period to ascertain the nature of recommended workups. Outpatient records were inspected for evidence of workup completion in the six months post discharge.
- There were 693 patients discharged; 191 (27.6%) involved post discharge workup recommendations.
- Workup recommendations included diagnostic procedures (47.9%), subspecialty referrals (35.4%), and outpatient laboratory tests (16.7%).
- The diagnostic procedure recommended most often was computed tomographic scans. Cardiologists were the most common subspecialty referral. The outpatient laboratory test recommended most often was anticoagulation monitoring.
- Slightly over one-third (36%) of recommended workups were completed.
- Laboratory testing workups were completed most often (85%), while diagnostic procedural workups were completed least often (50.4%). There was a significant difference in workup completion rate.
- More time to first follow-up visit after discharge and longer hospitalization stays were related to lower likelihood of recommended workup completion. Discharge summaries with workup recommendations raised the likelihood of workup completion post discharge.