The Hospital Socks Followup Program

When you’re working in an urban emergency department with at least 20 different hospitals in the area, you certainly get your share of frequent fliers. Often these patients are undomiciled and/or have substance or psychiatric problems — but they often also have significant medical disease burdens as well. Combine all this together and you quickly get a significant patient population who are poor or difficult historians. Many come in with head injuries, staples, or other visible signs of trauma — and many even carry stacks of discharge papers with them from hospitals around the city.

Introducing the Hospital Socks Followup Program. Each hospital is given a different color of no-slip socks: “Blue, they were just at Bellevue!” so that you can get an idea of where a patient’s been recently, and perhaps find out if the patient recently had a CT scan, a chest pain workup, or prior surgery.

(Of course, I’d prefer an actual medical record sharing system. But that’s seeming more and more like a pipe dream.)

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