A Resident-Led Initiative to Increase Documentation of Surrogate Decision Makers for Hospitalized Patients

Jeffrey M. Dueker, Jacob Luty, D. Alexander Perry, Seiko Izumi, Erik Fromme, Matthew DiVeronica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Identification of surrogate decision makers (SDMs) is an important part of advance care planning for hospitalized patients. Despite its importance, the best methods for engaging residents to sustainably improve SDM documentation have not been identified. Objective: We implemented a hospital-wide quality improvement initiative to increase identification and documentation of SDMs in the electronic health record (EHR) for hospitalized patients, utilizing a Housestaff Quality and Safety Council (HQSC). Methods: EHR documentation of SDMs for all adult patients admitted to a tertiary academic hospital, excluding psychiatry, were tracked and grouped by specialty in a weekly run chart during the intervention period (July 2015 through April 2016). This also continued postintervention. Interventions included educational outreach for residents, monthly plan-do-study-act cycles based on performance feedback, and a financial incentive of a one-time payment of 0.75% of a resident's salary put into the retirement account of each resident, contingent on meeting an SDM documentation target. Comparisons were made using statistical process control and chi-square tests. Results: At baseline, SDMs were documented for 11.1% of hospitalized adults. The intervention period included 9146 eligible admissions. Hospital-wide SDM documentation increased significantly and peaked near the financial incentive deadline at 48% (196 of 407 admissions, P < 001). Postintervention, hospital-wide SDM documentation declined to 30% (134 of 446 admissions, P < .001), but remained stable. Conclusions: This resident-led intervention sustainably increased documentation of SDMs, despite a decline from peak rates after the financial incentive period and notable differences in performance patterns by specialty admitting service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of graduate medical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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