Data Impact Challenge Question 3

Question 3:  Does prompt access to a discharge summary (within 2-4 days) by primary care providers reduce the rate of readmissions and/or emergency department visits?

Reducing unnecessary readmissions and emergency department (ED) visits is an important objective from both cost reduction and patient outcome perspectives. Successful transfer of care to a primary care provider is recognized as an important component of avoiding unnecessary readmission or ED visit in many cases, and timely information flow to these providers is seen as a key to a successful transfer. More evidence is required to understand this relationship and determine the importance of promptly delivering discharge summaries. For the purposes of this analysis, prompt delivery is defined as receipt by the primary care provider in less than 4 days post discharge (i.e. if discharged on a Monday, summary would be received between Monday and Thursday). Note: it is recognized that not all readmissions or emergency department visits are potentially avoidable.


Through the Data Impact Challenge, three submissions were received in response to this question. The first submission was received within five weeks following the Challenge launch date. The geographic scopes included populations from Ontario and Alberta. The scope of the data collected ranged from inpatient to general practice after-discharge visits. The aggregate sample size for all submissions was approximately 1.5 million re-admissions and/or emergency department visits.

Guiding Specifications

Required metrics: Populate each square of this table

Number and rate of 30-day readmission and/or ED visit
Discharge summary received within 3 days or less*
Discharge summary received in greater than 30 days or not received*
Total, regardless of when discharge summary received
*Could be patient, clinician or regional sample

Sample: Minimum sample size of 10,000 discharges.
Timeframe: Analysis should include at least one year of data, which is no more than five (5) years old

Participating Teams


Team bio: Team comprises of Liisa Jaakkimainen, FP and Senior Scientist at ICES, Jacqueline Young, Health Informatician at ICES, Hong Lu, Analyst at ICES and Karen Tu, FP and Senior Scientist at ICES.
Entry: PDF



Team bio: The FredSquare team work for Alberta Health in the Health Analytics Branch with several years experience in health data analytics.
Entry: PDF


Ottawa Hospital Performance Measurement

Team bio: This team is a dynamic, deductive, data-loving performance measurement team, specialized in analytics & research for health system improvement.
Entry: PDF