Standardized medical form puts N.J. hospitals, health-care providers in accord

    New Jersey health-care providers and hospitals will soon be on the same page when it comes to important patient information. Starting at the end of October, every patient transferring from one care setting to another will carry a standardized form with vital medical information.

    Patients going from one hospital to another, or from a clinic to a nursing home, will all travel with the same information on a one-page form. Until now, providers used different forms, containing varying information.

    The new form will make patient transfers safer and more efficient, said Mary O’Dowd, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

    “Not only getting all of the right information, but looking at the same place at each form to get that information,” said O’Dowd. “So you don’t easily miss something, you know exactly where to look to get the right information, right away.”

    Information provided on the form includes vital signs, medication information, and mental status, said Kerry McKean Kelly of the New Jersey Hospital Association.

    “Medications, special dietary needs, different risk alerts, for example if the patient is prone to falls, will all be included,” said Kelly. Without the standardized form, care could be delayed as providers track down information from a previous provider, said Kelly. Or medication allergies could have been missed, she said.

    The “universal transfer form” will accompany patients in a paper format as well as in digital form.

    Health-care providers, researchers and public health officials collaborated in developing the form.

    New Jersey is one of the first states to introduce a standardized transfer form for medical information.

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