Pilot Study to Improve Goals of Care Conversations Among Hospitalists.
CONTEXT: Many hospitalized patients receive care that is not concordant with their goals. Teaching communication skills that better align goals and treatment can improve the care that patients receive. OBJECTIVE: To develop and test an innovative approach that encourages hospitalists to engage in goals of care (GOC) conversations with their patients. METHODS: We recruited 14 hospitalists and randomized half to receive electronic health record alerts for patients who might benefit most from a goals-of-care conversation, as well as communication coaching. The coaching required an initial meeting, then audio recording of two GOC conversations and feedback from the coach. Outcomes were the presence of GOC conversations (primary), the quality of the GOC conversations, physician perceptions of the intervention, and hospital metrics (e.g., 30-day readmissions, referrals to palliative care). RESULTS: We did not increase the frequency of GOC conversations but did improve the quality of the conversations. Patients of physicians who received the intervention had fewer 30-day readmission rates and were less likely to die 90 days after admission than patients of physicians in the control arm. Patients of intervention physicians also had fewer palliative care consults than patients of control physicians. CONCLUSIONS: Teaching hospitalists to have GOC conversations translated into better skills and outcomes for patients. This pilot study shows promise and should be tested in a larger trial.
Pollak, KI; Gao, X; Beliveau, J; Griffith, B; Kennedy, D; Casarett, D
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