A Multimodal Intervention to Improve the Quality and Safety of Interhospital Care Transitions for Nontraumatic Intracerebral and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021 Feb;47(2):99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.10.003. Epub 2020 Oct 22.


Background: Regionalization of care has increased interhospital transfers (IHTs) of nontraumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to specialized centers yet exposes patients to the latent risks inherent to IHT. The researchers examined how a multimodal quality improvement intervention affected quality and safety measures for patients with ICH or SAH exposed to IHT.

Methods: Pre and post analyses of timeliness, effectiveness, and communication outcome measures were performed for patients transferred to an urban, academic center with nontraumatic ICH/SAH following implementation of a multimodal intervention. Intervention components included clinical practice guideline dissemination, IHT process redesign, electronic patient arrival notification, electronic imaging exchange, and electronic health record improvements. Three months of preintervention outcomes were compared to six months of postintervention outcomes to assess impact and sustainability of the intervention; t-tests and chi-square tests were used to compare continuous and proportional outcomes, respectively.

Results: The IHT study population included 106 patients (37 preintervention, 69 postintervention). Significant improvements were observed in timeliness outcomes, including emergency department (ED) time to admission order (preintervention median: 66 minutes vs. postintervention: 33 minutes, p = 0.008), ED boarding time (preintervention median: 223 minutes vs. postintervention: 93 minutes, p = 0.001), and ED length of stay (preintervention median: 300 minutes vs. postintervention: 150 minutes, p ≤ 0.0001). Verbal communication between ED and neurocritical care clinicians prior to IHT improved from 40.0% preintervention to 90.9% postintervention.

Conclusion: Application of scripted quality improvement interventions as part of the IHT process is feasible and effective at improving the timeliness of care and communication of critical information in patients with nontraumatic ICH/SAH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Patient Transfer
  • Quality Improvement
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage* / therapy