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VHA National Center for Patient Safety

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The Daily Plan®

 A patient and health care provider discuss patient's Daily Plan®

Discussing the Daily Plan®


The patient is the only constant in the health care system who is always present and yet least likely to be included as a resource. The Daily Plan® changes that!

By importing provider orders from the VA electronic health record into a health summary, patients receive an itinerary for each day in a single printed document. The Daily Plan® is essentially a road map that lets patients see, in black and white, what’s going to happen to them on a particular day.

A facility or nursing unit can customize the document and include a number of relevant items such as:

  • Diagnostic tests
  • Medications
  • Nutrition
  • Appointments
  • Allergies

The Daily Plan® encourages patients and their families to better understand their care. Patients are encouraged to ask questions if something seems different than planned, which enables them to become more active members of their healthcare team. Patient involvement is an integral aspect of the program; by involving patients in their care, patient safety can be enhanced.

Potential errors can be prevented when nurses and patients review The Daily Plan® together. By doing so, the patient and the healthcare team are able to recognize and correct any discrepancies. These can include errors of omission or commission.


The initial pilot of The Daily Plan® in 2007/2008 received positive responses from patients and staff. In Phase 2, evaluations were completed by hospitalized patients (n=198), nearly seventy-five percent of the patients agreed or strongly agreed that having the plan made it easier for them to ask questions, increased their understanding of their hospital and helped them feel more comfortable. More than 47% reported finding a discrepancy in their planned care.

Additionally, concurrent evaluation of nurses (n=85) found reviewing The Daily Plan® with their patients was an appropriate use of their time and took approximately 10 minutes.

Additional Information


The Daily Plan® was recently featured on The Patient Safety Huddle Podcast


Journal of Nursing Care Quality April/May 2018, pages 123-127; Impact of The Daily Plan® on length of stay and readmission.  by Beth King, BSN, RN, CCM; Yinong Young-Xu, ScD; William Lee, MPH; Robertus van Aalst, MS; Brian Shiner, MD; Peter Mills, PhD.; Leah Eickhoff, BA; Julia Neily, RN, MPH.   

Nursing Management, March 2012, page 15-18: The Daily Plan®: Including patients for safety’s sake by Beth J. King, BSN, RN, CCM; Peter D. Mills, PhD, MS; Amanda Fore, MS