Health Hospital discharge summary vital to ongoing patient care

Hospital discharge summary vital to ongoing patient care

Improving the accuracy of hospital discharge summaries is vital to obtaining better outcomes for patients, a new study reveals.

An 18-month study by University of Wollongong researchers found that many hospital discharge summaries were missing key information such as diagnostic test results.

Dr Carl Mahfouz from UOW’s Graduate Medicine said that GP’s want an accurate, comprehensive discharge summary in a timely fashion that contains only relevant information relating to the most recent admission.

“Discharge summaries should be written by someone who has actually seen the patient, not just [be] a copy and paste of a whole record and irrelevant information,” Dr Mahfouz said.

Previous research shows that almost half the patients discharged from hospital experienced at least one adverse event in their continuing care as a result of incorrect information contained in their hospital discharge summary.

“We hope this study will lead to more changes being made in the format, delivery and content of discharge summaries to be able to provide more comprehensive, timely and accurate care to patients,” Dr Mahfouz said.

Following the release of the research, the Pharmacy Department at Wollongong Hospital incorporated several key changes to discharge summaries, including the addition of medication changes and reasons for medication changes.

The study was undertaken by Dr Carl Mahfouz, Professor Andrew Bonney, Associate Professor Judy Mullan and Dr Warren Rich.

Read more about the University of Wollongong study here. Story credit: University of Wollongong newsroom.

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