SynopSIS: integrating physician sign-out with the electronic medical record

J Hosp Med. 2007 Sep;2(5):336-42. doi: 10.1002/jhm.235.


Background: Safe delivery of care depends on effective communication among all health care providers, especially during transfers of care. The traditional medical chart does not adequately support such communication. We designed a patient-tracking tool that enhances provider communication and supports clinical decision making.

Aim: To develop a problem-based patient-tracking tool, called Sign-out, Information Retrieval, and Summary (SynopSIS), in order to support patient tracking, transfers of care (ie, sign-outs), and daily rounds.

Setting: Tertiary-care, university-based teaching hospital.

Program description: SynopSIS compiles and organizes information from the electronic medical record to support hospital discharge and disposition decisions, daily provider decisions, and overnight or cross-coverage decisions. It reflects the provider's patient-care and daily work-flow needs.

Program evaluation: We plan to use Web-based surveys, audits of daily use, and interdisciplinary focus groups to evaluate SynopSIS's impact on communication between providers, quality of sign-out, patient continuity of care, and rounding efficiency.

Conclusions: We expect SynopSIS to improve care by facilitating communication between care teams, standardizing sign-out, and automating daily review of clinical and laboratory trends. SynopSIS redesigns the clinical chart to better serve provider and patient needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Focus Groups
  • Forms and Records Control / methods
  • Humans
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / instrumentation*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Program Evaluation / methods
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • San Francisco
  • Software Design*