Patient Oriented Discharge Summary (PODS)


The period following discharge from hospital is a vulnerable time for patients. Clearly communicating important information patients need to know the moment they leave hospital seems sensible, but is often challenging in practice for several reasons: Patients do not understand medical terms, might not be fluent in English/French, cannot memorize verbal instructions, or are too stressed at time of illness to absorb information.

PODS is a simple tool and set of process changes that was co-designed by patients and providers in 2014. PODS was piloted in 8 Toronto-area hospital departments spanning adult, pediatric, rehabilitation, acute, and surgery in 2015. Results showed that patient satisfaction scores related to discharge experience increased between 9.3% and 19.4% after PODS implementation. Among the providers involved, over 80% felt that it did not add to their workload, saying that PODS gives structure to the discharge conversation, thereby increasing consistency and making it more efficient to get the most critical information across. The accompanying videos illustrate the qualitative impact PODS has had on patient care.

PODS is now being adopted in 27 hospitals across Ontario. This initiative to spread PODS across the province is supported by Health Quality Ontario and the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, through their ARTIC program. It has the potential to benefit approximately 50,000 patients in the first year alone. Beginning in early 2018, participating hospitals will be encouraged to expand PODS use internally through more departments, and to encourage other hospitals in their regions to use the tool.

PODS was recognized on the Minister’s Medal Honour Roll in 2015. All of the learnings and resources needed to implement PODS can now be found at the PODS Toolkit website.

If you are interested in adopting PODS in your organization, and need some help or advice, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Project Team:

Tai Huynh (project lead), Shoshana Hahn-Goldberg (project lead), Karen Okrainec, Howard AbramsRasha Kubba, Amy Troup

Advisory Team:

Michelle Ransom (patient advisor), Audrey Chaput (caregiver advisor), Chaim Bell, Lianne Jeffs, Kevin Thorpe, Beverly Shea, Parviz Masoudi

Project Sponsors:

Health Quality Ontario, Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network


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