12 July 2015


Urgent improvements needed in information about medications in discharge summaries and referrals

‚ÄčOur extensive online survey found that poor communication between care settings about medications is caused by: missing or inaccurate information; illegibility (of handwritten records); difficulties with medicines reconciliation (arising from lack of information); and information not being available quickly enough.


Our extensive online survey found that poor communication between care settings about medications is caused by: missing or inaccurate information; illegibility (of handwritten records); difficulties with medicines reconciliation (arising from lack of information); and information not being available quickly enough. Needed improvements include: a single accessible patient record; better data quality; medication record standards; and electronic transfer of medication information when patients move to another care setting. Nine out of 10 respondents wanted patient access to medication records on-line. Our report has a roadmap for developing and implementing interoperable e-medications standards.

Hospital discharge summaries and referrals from GPs to hospitals (elective and emergency) were identified as by far the highest priorities for the transfer of structured and coded medication information between care settings. These would enable hospital clinicians to see what medication a patient has been prescribed prior to admission and to notify GPs of changes to a patient's medication made whilst in hospital.

The report recommends a programme of work from 2015 to 2020 for the development and implementation of standards for communicating medication information between primary and secondary care, engaging throughout with all patient, professional and vendor stakeholders. To achieve this, work is also needed on standards-based hospital e-prescribing and medicines administration, to ensure that systems are safe and fit for purpose.

Go to: 'E-Medications standards are a top priority' to download the reports

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