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Keywords:

  • ACE units;
  • hospitalized older patients;
  • interdisciplinary team;
  • care management;
  • electronic medical record

This article describes an innovative method to disseminate the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) model of care for hospitalized older patients implemented at 11 community hospitals in Wisconsin. The ACE Tracker is a computer-generated checklist of all older patients in a facility that takes information from multiple areas of the electronic medical record to identify the older patients' risk factors for functional decline and poor outcomes. The ACE Tracker report was validated against in-person observation of the older patients and found to be accurate. Interdisciplinary teams on medical–surgical units use this summary report to review each patient's plan of care and to efficiently assess the patients who are vulnerable to poor hospital outcomes. The ACE Tracker is also used during regular consultation provided through teleconferencing between an off-site geriatrician (e-Geriatrician) and the local ACE team. The effect of the ACE Tracker and e-Geriatrician models was assessed by measuring use of urinary catheters, physical restraints, high-risk medications, and social service evaluation at a single hospital for the 6 months before and after implementation of the models. There were significant improvements in urinary catheter and physical therapy referrals but no significant changes in the other outcomes. There was no change in the length of stay or in the rate of hospital readmission within 30 days.