Hospital collaboration

This issue looks at improving transfers between hospitals, providing palliative care to rural patients, and more.

Transferring patients between hospitals can offer significant benefits, such as access to otherwise unavailable procedures and specialists. But it also holds a number of challenges, as this month's cover story reports. Even at big-name facilities that receive patients from around the world, communication between transferring and receiving hospitals is often less than perfect. Get experts' advice on optimizing these handoffs.

Continuing the theme of collaboration between hospitals, a feature article looks at the challenge of providing palliative care in rural areas. Few rural hospitals have palliative care specialists, but telemedicine is beginning to fill that gap. Technology may enable more palliative care experts to care for distant patients, if logistical and financial issues can be overcome.

This month's Success Story describes how one hospital dealt with the logistical challenge of a surge of flu patients by turning a conference room into a medical ward. That seems like a really good use of the space, compared to Newman's Notions satirical portrait of a hospital committee meeting.

This issue also includes an Expert Analysis offering advice on how to interpret cardiac troponin levels in patients with chronic kidney disease and suspected acute coronary syndrome. A related Test Yourself offers questions about chest pain.

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Stacey Butterfield