Transfer of Care – eDischarge

In August 2014, a patient safety alert was published by NHS England that revealed 33 percent of the 10,000 patient safety incidents reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) between October 2012 and September 2013 related directly to poor communication as care is transferred at the point of discharge.

Deadline for Electronic Discharges

From 1 October 2015, to support improved communication, clinical workflow and more effective transfers of care, secure fax will no longer be permitted for sending discharge summaries to GPs from NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts or independent sector providers of acute services. From this date, organisations need to be using either secure email or direct electronic transmission to send and receive discharge summaries. Organisations are being strongly encouraged to adopt an electronic transmission approach for sending discharge summaries. Taking this strategic approach will avoid the cost of multiple stages of enhancement. To aid providers take this step, NHS England, NHS Digital (previously known as HSCIC) and the Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) have agreed standards for both discharge summary content and for electronic methods for sharing discharge information.

The PRSB has adopted the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) ‘Standards for the Clinical Structure and Content of Patient Records’ (page 29 para iii) for the purpose of standardising the content within transfers of care communication ‘The NHS standard contract recommends the adoption of the AoMRC standard headings within discharge summaries between hospitals and GP practices.

The Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) has also been updated by NHS Digital to include Transfer of Care (eDischarge) Message Specification Packs.

Additionally, NHS Digital will provide a series of online technical workshops for developers and suppliers to aid the local implementation of CDA, standard headings and message specifications. Please note that these workshops have been divided into a number of different sessions.

National Information Board

The National Information (NIB) published its framework for action called ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020 – Using Data and Technology to Transform Outcomes for Patients and Citizens.’ In November 2014.

This framework was developed based on evidence from many sources and is not a national plan, but a framework for action that will support frontline staff, patients and citizens to take better advantage of the digital opportunity.

The work between NHS England, NHS Digital and PRSB is collectively promoting the adoption of structured headings within all Transfers of Care settings to support the transformation of outcomes for patients and citizens.

References and links to related work

  1. NIB Framework for Action ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020 – Using Data and Technology to Transform Outcomes for Patients and Citizens’.
  2. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges ‘Standards for the Clinical Structure and Content of Patient Records’. The standards have been developed using published evidence and in consultation with doctors, patients, nurses and allied healthcare professionals. The standards were signed off as fit for purpose for the whole medical profession by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, in April 2013
  3. NHS standard contract
  4. Transfer of Care (eDischarge) Message Specification Packs
  5. Professional Records Standards Body
  6. eDischarge summaries supporting guidance