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Improving discharge summaries – learning resource materials

The RCP Health Informatics Unit (HIU) has developed a learning resource to support the development of effective discharge summaries. The project was led by Dr Stephanie Strachan and the HIU worked collaboratively with the RCP Education department.

Trainees completing this training package will be able to achieve the following outcomes:

  • understand who the recipients of e-discharge summaries are, how they use the discharge summary and the information that they need
  • describe the purpose and importance of e-discharge summaries
  • be familiar with the national PRSB e-discharge summary standard headings and understand the information that is appropriate to record under each heading
  • gain confidence in writing quality discharge summaries that are useful to all recipients
  • write the details in e-discharge summaries with clarity and to an appropriate level of detail
  • identify and discuss good and bad points of completed e-discharge summaries with multi-professional colleagues
  • obtain take-away materials to provide ongoing support when writing e-discharge summaries.

Please also see the evaluation report for this project which outlines recommendations for the delivery of the learning resource.

Toolkit contents

The contents of the learning resource toolkit are listed below and include guidance notes for supervisors of the training and instructions for trainees who wish to make use of the materials independently.

1. Discharge summary template overview

A generic discharge summary template aligned with the PRSB e-discharge summary standard. This is not intended to be a definitive template but includes the main clinical headings for educational purposes to help people to write a quality discharge summary.

2. Discharge summary template crib sheet

Notes to guide writing a discharge summary.

3. Discharge summary template and annotated example

An example patient discharge summary annotated to explain points of importance.

4. Activity-clinical notes example

Example clinical notes to accompany the discharge summary writing task, in PDF format for ease of printing, if desired.

5. Activity-practice discharge summary writing task

Example clinical notes with accompanying blank discharge summary, with relevant fields pre-populated.

6Activity-practice discharge summary example completion

Example completion of a discharge summary for the example clinical notes provided.

7. E-discharge summary self-assessment checklist

Self-assessment checklist to enable self- or peer-review and guided reflection of the completed practice discharge summary (4–6 above).

8. Guidance for supervisor – e-discharge summary learning resource

Guidance notes for supervisors of the e-discharge summary learning resource.

9. Guidance for trainees – discharge summary learning resource

Instructions for trainees completing the e-discharge summary learning activity independently (without supervision).

10. Audit tool

For assessing the quality of an e-discharge summary.

For more information please contact clare.wade@rcplondon.ac.uk.

Who's involved


The development of this toolkit was sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited.