Discrepancies in Electronic Discharge Summaries and Prescriptions for Older Patients

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In order to avoid discharge discrepancies, healthcare professionals should improve communication at transitions of care.
In order to avoid discharge discrepancies, healthcare professionals should improve communication at transitions of care.

HealthDay News — For older patients discharged from a regional hospital, there are frequently discrepancies between the electronic discharge summaries and the National Inpatient Medication Chart (NIMC) or discharge prescription, according to a study published online in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research.

Mary E. Wilkin, BPharm, from Manning Hospital in Taree, Australia, and colleagues examined the types and numbers of discrepancies in electronic discharge summaries prepared for older patients discharged from the medical wards of a regional hospital compared with the NIMC or discharge prescription. Data were included for 50 patients, aged 65 years or older, taking 3 or more regular medications who were discharged from the medical wards with an NIMC or discharge prescription and an electronic discharge summary.

The researchers identified 107 discrepancies, with 68% of the discharge summaries containing one or more discrepancies. A little more than 40% of the discrepancies related to omission of medications prescribed from the electronic discharge summary. In terms of clinical significance, 29% of the discrepancies were classified as having moderate potential clinical significance and 50% were classified as having minor clinical significance.

"This audit demonstrated that the majority of electronic discharge summaries supplied by the hospital contained discrepancies," the authors wrote. "Improved communication between health care providers at transitions of care is needed in rural settings."

Reference

Wilkin ME, Knight AT, Boyce LE. An audit of medication information in electronic discharge summaries for older patients discharged from medical wards at a regional hospital [published online December 13, 2017]. J Pharm Pract Res. doi:10.1002/jppr.1340

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