A study of information flow in hospice interdisciplinary team meetings

George Demiris, Karla Washington, Debra Parker Oliver, Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to explore the information flow of hospice interdisciplinary meetings focusing on information access, exchange and documentation. The study participants were members of four hospice interdisciplinary teams in the Midwestern United States. Team members included a diverse range of professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, bereavement counselors, and others. A total of 81 patient care discussions were videotaped and transcribed. A content analysis revealed several themes that needed to be addressed to improve the overall information flow, such as access to and recording of information, documentation of services, obtaining information from absent team members, data redundancy and updating of recorded information. On average, 5% of all utterances when discussing a patient case were focused on soliciting information from the member who had access to the patient chart. In 12.3% of all discussions, members referred to an absent member who could have provided additional information. In 8.6% of all discussions the same facts were repeated three times or more. Based on the findings we propose guidelines that can address potential informational gaps and enhance team communication in hospice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-629
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Communication
  • Hospice
  • Information flow
  • Interdisciplinary team


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