Seamless Transitions of Care

A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Efficacy of a Hospital Electronic Discharge Communication Tool

About the Project

An electronic discharge communication tool (e-DCT) was developed to improve the communication between hospital and community doctors for when patients leave the hospital. The efficacy of the tool was evaluated by randomizing 1399 patients, admitted to the medical teaching unit at the Foothills Medical Centre, to either having a hand-written discharge summary or an e-DCT discharge summary prepared for them when they leave the hospital. Patients were called one month and three months after they were discharged from the hospital to get their perspectives on their care during and after their hospital stay. Both hospital doctors and community doctors of the patients were also surveyed to get their experience with hand written and e-DCT discharge summaries.


  • Currently being used in all Calgary hospitals
  • Particularly effective for patients with complex or long stays in hospitals
  • Collaboration between various departments in Calgary hospitals to improve communication and documentation of care
  • Six papers have been published

Services Provided

  • Grant Writing Support
  • Ethics Development and Management
  • Clinical Trial Design and Coordination
  • Expert Reviews
  • Participant Screening and Recruitment
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Data Management
  • Knowledge Translation

Additional Content

Published Articles
Okoniewska, B.M., Santana, M.J., Holroyd-Leduc, J. et al. The Seamless Transfer-of-Care Protocol: a randomized controlled trial assessing the efficacy of an electronic transfer-of-care communication toolBMC Health Serv Res 12, 414 (2012).

Santana MJ, Holroyd-Leduc J, Flemons WW, O’Beirne M, White D, Clayden N, Forster AJ, Ghali WA. The seamless transfer of care: a pilot study assessing the usability of an electronic transfer of care communication tool. Am J Med Qual. 2014 Nov-Dec;29(6):476-83. doi: 10.1177/1062860613503982. Epub 2013 Sep 19. PMID: 24052455.

Santana MJHolroyd-Leduc JSouthern DA the e-DCT Team, et al. A randomised controlled trial assessing the efficacy of an electronic discharge communication tool for preventing death or hospital readmission.

Sevick LK, Santana M, Ghali WA, et al. Prospective economic evaluation of an electronic discharge communication tool: analysis of a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open 2017;7:e019139. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019139