Adnan, M., Warren, J., Orr, J., Ewans, A., Scott, J., & Trubshaw, S. (2010). The Quality of Electronic Discharge Summaries for Post-Discharge Care – Hospital Panel Assessment and IT to Support Improvement. Healthcare and Infomatics Online. Retrieved from http://www.hinz.org.nz/journal/2010/12/The-Quality-of-Electronic-Discharge-Summaries-for-Post-Discharge-Care—Hospital-Panel-Assessment-and-IT-to-Support-Improvement/1034.
A Discharge Summary (DS) is an important tool to communicate the post-discharge framework of care between hospital physicians and primary care as well as patients and their families. This paper assesses the quality of information in Electronic Discharge Summaries (EDSs) with respect to adequacy and specificity for optimal post-discharge care of the patient. The assessments were done by randomly selecting 40 EDSs of the patients discharged from two secondary care hospitals affiliated with Waitemata District health board, Auckland and using a questionnaire with an expert panel composed of two medical specialists and a clinical coder. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Irrelevant data in laboratory results, and insufficient management and follow up information to patients and primary care physicians are identified as the most common quality issues. We conclude by outlining an ongoing programme of work to support improvement of the quality issues using Information Technology (IT), with a focus on improving the patient advice section of the EDS with decision support to EDS authors and embedding of readability support in the EDS documents themselves.