National discharge summary developed

  • 22 October 2012
National discharge summary developed

A mental health discharge summary has been developed to standardise information GPs get when a patient is discharged from inpatient mental health care.

Chairman of the British Computer Society Mental Health Informatics Group, Dr Joe McDonald, told eHealth Insider the release of this summary is the first step towards moving forward with a national electronic discharge summary.

“This process has managed to show we can agree on standards. We have standardised a template for what needs to be in a discharge summary. The next step is to develop this electronically,” he said.

The new summary has been created in collaboration between the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of General Practitioners and facilitated through the Department of Health Informatics Directorate’s clinical data standards assurance team.

The approach involved the development of a collaboration website which allowed clinicians from around the country to share ideas and reach consensus regarding what information must be included.

The standard template comes as a result of GPs, patients and carers complaining that the information they get about patients discharged from inpatient wards is too detailed and inconsistent.

“It’s been a piece of work for a long time. The challenge has always been to get agreement from clinicians on a national standard,” Dr McDonald said.

“The next challenge will be to get everyone to adopt it.”

He hoped that the extent of collaboration on the summary would make it easier for trusts to choose to use it, but acknowledged there are a lot of other discharge summaries in circulation.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust launched a system in May whereby GPs are instantly notified when a patient has been discharged from an acute inpatient unit.

A template within the trust’s electronic patient journal system pulls demographic, admission and discharge information into a single document which can be emailed directly to GPs.

The trust told EHI this discharge notification was introduced to allow testing of the ePJS transmission system while consensus on a national template progressed.

“The aim is to replace the current discharge notification with the now endorsed new discharge summary, rationalising the ward discharge processes and the unnecessary duplication of clinical documentation for primary care,” a trust spokesperson said.

“An application has recently been made to the Information Sharing Challenge Fund to expedite integration of the now RCP-endorsed discharge summary in an ITK compliant CDA format together with a more robust transport mechanism utilising PCTI’s EDT Hub in partnership with Kings College Hospital.”

The summary is being implemented at a number of other mental health trusts including Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.



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