The discharge summary target

NHS Herefordshire is delivering discharge summaries and radiology report messages to its 24 GP practices using software from document management specialists PCTI.

The primary care trust said it wanted a solution to send discharge summaries from all inpatient wards at Hereford Hospital and radiology reports from the hospital’s Carestream radiology information system to GP practices.

Herefordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has deployed PCTI’s Electronic Document Transfer (EDT) Server to handle the transmission of electronic documents and reports from its multiple hospital systems to the GP practices.

The trust has also developed an in-house electronic discharge summary system and the summaries are also sent to the GP practice using the EDT server.

GP practices were provided with PCTI’s Docman 7, including the Docman EDT module to receive electronic documents and reports from the hospital.

Once collected by the practice, the documents are delivered into Docman 7, filed into the GP system and electronically distributed around the practice according to its workflow.

Denise MacPherson, lead pharmacy technical, governance, said the trust had previously had problems with the legibility of its paper discharge letters.

She added: “By using EDT and EDS the information sent is now legible, timely and with more important patient information being received immediately after the patient’s discharge.

"There were two main drivers for the project – to improve communication and the quality of that communication between primary and secondary care."

MacPherson said that by using the system the hospital aims to meet the Department of Health’s target of delivering a discharge summary to GPs within 24 hours.

All English hospitals are expected to meet that target from April this year, although it has been predicted that as few as 20% of trusts will do so.

Marcia Martin, practice manager at the Greyfriars Surgery in Hereford, said the system has resulted in an improvement to patients as it is now easy to view comments and results from the practice’s clinical system.

She added: “There is a lot less paper passed round the practice and there is now no instance of any lost or mislaid clinical letters. Our practice has also benefited greatly as there is no manual filing resulting in less storage of paper.”

PCTI said the trust was now considering widening the use of Docman to transmit other clinical information such as clinic letters and endoscopy reports.