Pediatric emergency department (ED) visits can be a stressful time for patients and their caregivers. This high stress environment can lead to questions and needed clarifications post-discharge. We implemented a post-discharge callback system to resolve these concerns for a focused subset of patients who historically have provided the most negative comment feedback on ED patient experience surveys. We hypothesized that comment types would shift to more positive than negative and the themes of the comments received would change. We developed a discharge callback process that focused on patients who were triaged as ESI level 4 during their emergency department visit. Over a 6-week period, patients were called the day after discharge and asked if they had questions regarding their recent ED visit in addition to questions regarding current health, post-discharge instructions, prescriptions, or follow-up instructions if applicable. A maximum of 3 discharge calls were made if needed in order to contact the patient or family. Any questions regarding health care needs were followed up by a licensed healthcare provider within 24 hours with a maximum of 3 attempts. At the end of the project timeframe we analyzed comments received from our patient experience surveys to identify if there was a shift in comment types and their themes. In addition, we analyzed ED return rates within 72 hours of discharge. During the 6-week period, 2710 calls were made to contact 1618 patients’ caregivers. Follow up was requested by 149 families with a healthcare provider. There was no significant change in the number of comment types received. Thematic analysis of the patient experience survey comments received during this time period, revealed a reduction in questions regarding the recent ED visit and post discharge needs. There was no significant change in 72-hour ED return rates. The institution of an ED discharge callback system can effectively reduce patients’ and families’ questions regarding post-discharge care by providing an opportunity to clarify care after they have left the emergency department.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://www.theberylinstitute.org/ExperienceFramework).