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AMA Issues Code for Safe Care Transitions After Hospital Stay

Five principles and five responsibilities help guide safe and effective ambulatory practices

MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A series of five responsibilities and five principles should guide ambulatory practices to achieve safe and effective care transitions for patients after hospital stays, according to a report issued by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Patricia E. Sokol, R.N., and Matthew K. Wynia, M.D., M.P.H., from the AMA Center for Patient Safety, convened a panel of experts from 2011 to 2012 to develop an understanding of the optimal roles and responsibilities for ambulatory practices in supporting safe care transitions.

According to the report, to improve the safety of care transitions, the ambulatory service has five responsibilities: assessment of the patient's health; goal setting and corresponding care decisions; providing information and access to resources to help the patient and caregiver manage the patient's condition; communication with relevant parties to manage medications; and care coordination to synchronize the efforts of team members. In addition, five principles should guide these responsibilities and actions to achieve effective care transitions: person-centered, collaborative, structured, iterative, and flexible.

"Research on the role of ambulatory practices in ensuring safe care transitions is in its infancy," the authors write. "Ambulatory practices should seek out opportunities to collect data and write about what they are doing to help patients as they move from home, to the hospital, and back home again, safely."

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