Improving discharge summaries – development of a learning resource

This RCP Health Informatics Unit (HIU) project aimed to improve the quality of discharge summaries by defining and responding to learning needs in this area.

What we are doing

The project, led by Dr Stephanie Strachan, aimed to reduce the time taken between discharge and receipt of discharge summaries by GPs, which have been identified as priority areas for many trusts, as well as to achieve accuracy and consistency in discharge summaries.

There is a need for education resources that will improve the understanding of the importance of comprehensive, accurate summaries and explain how this can be achieved.

The HIU worked collaboratively with the RCP Education department to develop a learning resource based on the findings from consultation with health and social care professionals and patients.

The aim of the learning resource is to:

  • increase the accuracy, consistency and utility of discharge summaries
  • ensure discharge summaries are appropriate for a wide variety of purposes, including:
    • communication with GPs, other healthcare professionals, patients and carers
    • generation of data for secondary uses.
  • increase awareness of the national PRSB standard for e-discharge summaries.

Who's involved

Organisations

Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited

Clinical lead

Dr Stephanie Strachan

What we have produced

This report describes the RCP Health Informatics Unit project to assess the problem of poor quality discharge summaries, and to determine the educational needs to support clinicians writing e-discharge summaries in order to improve their quality and effectiveness.
The RCP Health Informatics Unit has developed a learning resource to support the development of effective discharge summaries.
Stephanie Johnson, advanced nurse practitioner in acute medicine at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, explains what motivated her to be involved in a pilot of a new learning resource to support all authors of e-discharge summaries in completing this important task.
Dr Marissa Minns describes a series of steps to improve the quality of discharge summaries at her NHS trust.