Review of medication details in hospital discharge summaries recommends urgent rethink

PRSB survey finds that tackling inadequate information about medications in hospital discharge summaries and referrals from GPs to hospitals should be top priority.

An extensive online survey by the PRSB 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 also wanted patients to have access to their medication records online.

Hospital discharge summaries and referrals from GPs to hospitals top the priority list for improvements in medication information. Survey respondents said discharge summaries must include, at minimum, these key details on medications: medicine name, dose, route (e.g. oral, sub-cutaneous), frequency, reason for change and 'special instructions'. Our report has a roadmap for developing and implementing interoperable e-medications standards.

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