New electronic discharge summaries save the NHS time and admin costs
Hospitals across England will soon be able to send secure and standardised clinical patient discharge summaries and outpatient attendance information electronically to GP systems following a successful first of type by NHS Digital, TPP and Dorset County Hospital working with Independent Systems Integrators.
During the trial Dorset County Hospital was able to send over 4,000 structured FHIR1 messages to four volunteer GP practices locally3, including outpatient letters, emergency care and inpatient discharge summaries.
The system saves GP practices time in processing and clarifying the information they receive, so changes can be tracked and necessary actions taken.
For example, updating information when a new or alternative medication has been prescribed for the patient or actioning an onward referral request.
It will also notify hospitals when messages have been delivered and have been actioned. GPs and hospitals benefit from a reduction in paper use, postal costs and time re-typing information into their computer system.
Traditionally GPs have had to enter information from patient discharge letters into GP systems, taking up valuable admin time. National transfer of care messages allow for the data to be easily extracted straight into GP computer systems.
Adopting clinical and technical standards2 in electronic healthcare records across the NHS in England, allows clinical information to be recorded, shared and accessed consistently to deliver better care and outcomes for patients.
Messages are sent using the Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH) and have been built to HL7 FHIR standards, giving hospitals the possibility to send files that are much bigger than could be sent through email in the future.
Hospitals will also be able to send messages containing standardised coded clinical terminology, such as SNOMED-CT and dm+d.
Andrew Meyer, Director of Platforms at NHS Digital, said: “Improving transfers of care between hospitals and GP practices is a vitally important step to enhance patient care across different health and care settings.
“We have come a long way from the early days of sending discharge information through the post, fax and even email to now providing a standardised and reliable service.
“Hospital staff can be reassured that the messages they send to GP practices have been delivered, read and acted upon, without the need to follow up with telephone calls.
“Interoperability between different systems is key to reaching this target and we aim to work with other Trusts and GP suppliers to ensure that all GP computer systems can send and receive transfer of care messages in the near future.”
Dr John Parry, Clinical Director of TPP, said: “Enabling key information from ToC messages to be extracted automatically will make the process faster, less prone to error, and ultimately safer for patients.
“The interoperability we have achieved here is an essential step in the right direction to make all communication into General Practice digital.”
Waleed Al-Hussaini, founder of Independent System Integrators, said: “We’ve taken content from MS Word and Rich text format documents written by clinical professionals to construct FHIR messages for Outpatient Letters.
“We’ve enriched and transformed HL7v2 messages to generate Inpatient discharge and emergency department discharge FHIR messages to send to GPs allowing the Trust the time and space to continue to deliver excellent services and improve systems while realising the tangible benefits of the ToC programme for patients and GPs, as well as complying with the national requirement today.”
NHS Digital is now working with mental health trusts to develop a first of type for mental health inpatient discharge notices.
Notes for editors
- Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is a standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically. More information about the technical aspect of how this is used in the Transfers of Care can be found here
- Clinical standards for the Structure and Content of Health and Care Records have been published by the Profession Record Standards Body (PRSB)
- The practices were: The Atrium, Cerne Abbas Surgery, Queens Avenue and Prince of Wales Surgery
- The Transfer of Care is part of the NHS Digital Integrating Care Programme. The vision for Integrating Care is to: “Better inform clinical decision-making across all health and care settings by enabling and enhancing the flow of patient information supported by clinical and technical standards.”
Latest News from
New NHS Cyber Chief’s top security tips for Cyber Security Awareness Month04/10/2022 09:15:00
A leading cyber expert at the NHS has set out his top security tips for health and social care workers ahead of Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Latest NHS Digital figures show 21.5% rise in number of people accessing talking therapies: statistical press release30/09/2022 09:15:00
The number of people accessing talking therapies for conditions such as anxiety and depression through the NHS increased by 21.5% from 2020-21 to 2021-22, a new report shows.
Statistics published for all routine childhood vaccinations in England in 2021-22: statistical press release29/09/2022 16:15:00
Coverage for all routine childhood vaccinations administered to children under five in England in 2021-22 has been published today.
Milestone hit with over 30 million NHS App sign-ups and almost 450K new organ donation decisions28/09/2022 16:15:00
The NHS App has now recorded more than 30 million sign-ups, and almost 450,000 new organ donation decisions have been registered via the app.
Annual data on hospital admissions published: statistical press release22/09/2022 16:15:00
The latest annual report on hospital admissions in English NHS hospitals has been published by NHS Digital today.
Decrease in smoking and drug use among school children but increase in vaping, new report shows06/09/2022 13:10:00
New figures from NHS Digital show a decrease in numbers of school children taking drugs and smoking cigarettes but a rise in vaping, with 9% of 11 to 15 year olds currently using e-cigarettes.
9.5% decrease in adults seen by dentists in past two years25/08/2022 13:05:00
The number of adults seen by NHS dentists within recommended timeframes decreased by 9.5% in 2021-22 against the previous year, a report published by NHS Digital today shows.
Statistics on adult safeguarding published in new report25/08/2022 12:05:00
The latest information on safeguarding concerns reported to local authorities in England has been published today by NHS Digital.