Addressing Transportation Insecurity Improves Attendance at Posthospitalization Appointments

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Aftercare (organization & administration, standards); Appointments and Schedules; Checklist; Hospitals, Pediatric (organization & administration, standards); Humans; Maine; Patient Discharge (standards); Quality Improvement; Transportation


BACKGROUND: Transportation influences attendance at posthospitalization appointments (PHAs). In 2017, our pediatric hospital medicine group found that our patients missed 38% of their scheduled PHAs, with several being due to transportation insecurity. To address this, we implemented a quality improvement project to perform inpatient assessment of transportation insecurity and provide mitigation with the goal of improving attendance at PHAs. METHODS: The process measure was the percentage of patients with completed transportation insecurity screening, and the outcome measure was PHA attendance. An interprofessional team performed plan-do-study-act cycles. These included educating staff about the significance of transportation insecurity, its assessment, and documentation; embedding a list of local transportation resources in discharge instructions and coaching families on using these resources; notifying primary care providers of families with transportation insecurity; and auditing PHA attendance. RESULTS: Between July 2018 and December 2019, electronic health record documentation of transportation insecurity assessment among patients on the pediatric hospital medicine service and discharged from the hospital (n = 1731) increased from 1% to 94%, families identified with transportation insecurity increased from 1.2% to 5%, and attendance at PHAs improved for all patients (62%-81%) and for those with transportation insecurity (0%-57%). Our balance measure, proportion of discharges by 2 pm, remained steady at 53%. Plan-do-study-act cycles revealed that emphasizing PHA importance, educating staff about transportation insecurity, and helping families identify and learn to use transportation resources all contributed to improvement. CONCLUSIONS: Interventions implemented during the inpatient stay to assess for and mitigate transportation insecurity led to improvement in pediatric PHA attendance.