E-discharge summaries learning resource project – evaluation report

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This report describes the RCP Health Informatics Unit (HIU) project, led by Dr Stephanie Strachan, 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.

Key recommendations

  • make the learning resource available to all NHS trusts to freely take up and use
  • provide training for doctors in the final year of medical school and as early as possible during the first F1 placement, ideally before they take on responsibility for authoring discharge summaries
  • provide training during relevant induction periods for other professionals responsible for writing discharge summaries
  • deliver training in a group setting for participants to benefit from discussion and the shared experiences of varied professionals
  • provide dedicated time to complete the activity to increase participation
  • develop other example discharge summaries for the emergency department, mental health, paediatrics and other specialties; work with specialist societies to do so
  • consider using the learning resource as part of a wider quality improvement project in order to assess the longer-term impact of training on the quality of local e-discharge summaries.

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, aligned to the national PRSB standard for e-discharge summaries.

The learning resource was piloted in six NHS trusts:

  • Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust
  • Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Trust
  • West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

The learning resource was well received, with all elements scoring highly for usefulness, and trainees’ confidence in writing discharge summaries increased following the training.

Who's involved

Organisations

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