HSE Hospitals and General Practitioners (GPs) recognise that quality and timely communication on patient discharge from hospital is vital to the continuity of care to ensure improved health outcomes, reduced re-admission rates and ultimately better use of scarce resources. Most hospitals issue Discharge Summaries on patient discharge, to inform the relevant GP of the status of the patient. Discharge summaries can be of variable standard and even difficult to source in busy hospitals. Poor quality summaries, or even no summary, have led to numerous examples of patients receiving inappropriate care upon returning to the community. Studies have also shown that many of those summaries which are given to patients to deliver to their GP, never reach their intended destination. Galway University Hospitals (GUH) comprising University Hospital Galway, Merlin Park University Hospital and Roscommon County Hospital, with separate Medical Records, decided that they needed to address the problem head-on.
Solution Provided by DMF systems
DMF Systems was selected to provide E-Discharge to integrate with the existing PAS system and allow all the essential information on medical care, including coding, to be recorded at ward level and then to be communicated internally and electronically to GP’s. Galway University Hospitals also used E- Discharge to address other challenges. Diagnosis and Procedure Coding (required for reimbursement), for example, were a huge challenge. Following the education of Medical Staff on clinical coding requirements, E Discharge is now used to capture the key data, with the result that the whole process has been made more efficient. Electronic Summaries are now available throughout the hospital to clinicians. The delivery of Electronic Discharge summaries improves and speeds-up the communication between hospital clinical teams and the GP, with the quality of the summaries being improved all the time. The E Discharge system allows the clinical staff to accurately describe the Diagnosis and Procedures in line with ICD 10 coding at ward level. Once the clinical summary has been created in the system it is available to be authenticated by hospital staff, and is accessible to multiple users simultaneously, from any workstation in the hospital. User security within the system supports multiple access levels for different system users e.g. for viewing, editing or approving summaries and even tracking patients who have not had summaries.
Benefits Of E-Discharge
The system ensures the approval of summaries by senior registrars and/or consultants. This function is streamlined by flagging a queue of summaries to be approved. Using colour coding, the approver can see the status of the queue at a glance and the system allows auditing of the approval process. Another benefit is that E-Discharge can now supply most of the detail required for insurance claims for private patients. Discharge summaries are automatically electronically delivered to the GP’s once the summary is validated. This process is done securely and is logged into the system. As coding is performed at ward level it ensures that accurate results are sent to the GP and to other hospital staff.
E-Discharge Customisation on Existing Database
DMF System’s E-Discharge solution can be added on to an existing legacy PAS system, via HL7, hence its recent selection by another major Hospital Group.
“E-Discharge has been a great success. It’s acceptance by medical staff and admin has been excellent simply because it makes their job easier and also offers clear benefits to our patients whether discharged or re-admitted. The project had the full support of the Records Committee, Clinical Directors, Consultants and Management team.”
IS Manager -HSE West