East Cheshire NHS Trust’s is using Medisec eDelivery software to automatically produce discharge letters for GPs from the A&E department of Macclesfield District General Hospital.

Since implementing the system in April, about 16,000 A&E discharge letters have been sent from the A&E unit, of which 13,500 were sent electronically (85%).

The trust has been sending discharge summaries to GPs using Medisec software and PCTI’s EDT Connect since December 2008 and now sends 92% electronically.

The project went so well that the trust decided to start sending A&E discharge information electronically as well.

Patient information is input into ExtraMed – the trust’s A&E system. Medisec software uses this to automatically generate a discharge letter and store it electronically, then EDT Connect delivers the letters to the practices and directly into the workflow for those that have Docman.

The trust is looking to introduce outpatient letters to the delivery service later in the year.

Cheshire ICT Service customer service delivery manager Debi Lees said 54 GPs in central and eastern Cheshire are set up to receive the letters.

The trust is working on adding more out-of-area GPs to the system, starting with North Staffordshire.

“Patients visiting their surgery after being discharged from our A&E department the previous day can now rest assured their GP will be fully up-to-speed with their condition and any emergency treatment they may have received,” she said.

The trust benefits from being able to send “consistent information in a timely fashion using a system that is auditable,” Lees explained.

Previously, when letters were sent by post, the hospital had no way of knowing if some did not arrive, but now it will be alerted if there is a problem and can rectify it.

Priorslegh Medical Centre IT manager Tony Reilly-Cooper described the system as “great” and said it has saved “countless hours” scanning letters and coding the different departments.

“In the old system, we used to have someone on scanning who would have to open all the letters, days after the event had happened, scan them on, code the departments and then workflow to a doctor,” he explained.

“Now we receive them electronically we don’t have to spend the time scanning the documents on, coding them and getting them work flowed to a GP, we can skip straight to the work flow stage.”

Reilly-Cooper said he would encourage all surgeries to sign up for the service.