e-Discharge helps hospital meet NHS GP correspondence targets

Macclesfield District General Hospital now meeting target in 84% of cases

Following the installation of an e-Discharge system at Macclesfield District General Hospital, GP correspondence is being received within the target of 24 hours in 84% of all cases.

The news follows the installation of Medisec Software’s E-Discharge Notification Form (eDNF) system in 2010, which linked the hospital directly to 56 GP practices across Cheshire.

This has led to dramatic improvements in both the speed of delivery and the quality of clinical updates, East Cheshire NHS Trust is reporting.

As part of the new working practice, more than 200 clinicians can now input directly onto the system, with 84% of correspondence meeting the NHS’s 24-hour target.

Chris Gillespie, service development manager for the trust’s medical business unit, said: "The introduction and development of eDNF has assisted the trust to achieve its commissioning requirements and avoided considerable penalties associated with non-compliance."

Liaising with Royal College of Physicians on the content of the system, the trust worked with NHS Central and Eastern Cheshire primary care trust to design a template with pre-agreed content for all patient discharge communications.

Hospital staff are mandated to complete all the boxes with relevant content before the software automatically generates a Discharge Notification Form for electronic delivery direct to the relevant surgeries.

Debi Lees, customer service delivery manager at Cheshire ICT Service, said: “GPs need as much relevant and detailed information as possible to offer the best quality of care, yet they often have to take over the care of patients who have had a major illness with very scant details.

“Now a patient can be discharged from Macclesfield District General Hospital and visit their GP for follow-up care the next day and the GP will be fully up tospeed with critical developments at the hospital, such as new medication or test results.

“By capturing accurate medication information when a patient enters the hospital and during their stay, the initial eDNF is so comprehensive that, in many cases, a follow-up letter is now no longer required.”

Tom Rothwell, managing director of Medisec Software, added: “With Medisec, the hospital can get clear, legible and relevant clinical information to GPs in a much more timely way than they were previously. As information is captured electronically, it removes the need to issue a formally-dictated letter – usually about six weeks later – so it saves on secretarial time and cost too.”

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