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Largest-Ever Study of Palliative Care Demonstrates Scalable Strategy to Increase Support for Seriously Ill Patients in the Hospital

Penn Medicine News January 16, 2024

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From Penn Medicine News:

Ordering a palliative care consultation by “default” – via an automatic order programmed into the electronic medical record that doctors may cancel if they choose – is an effective strategy to give more hospitalized patients the opportunity to benefit from palliative care, and sooner, according to a new study led by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on relieving the symptoms and stress of a serious illness and improving quality of life, in alignment with a patient’s individual goals, values, and priorities. By changing the process for ordering palliative care consultation from doctors opting in and actively placing an order to having the opportunity to opt out and cancel an automatic order, the investigators increased palliative care consultation rates from 16.6 percent to 43.9 percent and decreased the time to consultation by 1.2 days in the largest-ever study of inpatient palliative care, published today in JAMA.