PRSB explores how standards are being used

​Putting standards into practice is an essential part of the work we do

The PRSB has been undertaking a series of visits to organisations who are currently using the e-discharge summary standard, to better understand the successes and challenges they are having.

For standards to be successfully put into action, they must be useable in an everyday care setting. Through our visits to different trusts across the country, we have been talking to health and care professionals about where and how they are using the standard and the benefits they are seeing. We visited 15 organisations in total, including acute hospitals, mental health trusts and sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs). All these organisations are at different stages of implementation and have different levels of infrastructure in place. Following the visits we have produced a report, which highlights some of the key findings.

For the healthcare professionals interviewed, clinical engagement in standards remains very important, to ensure that when e-discharge summaries are being used, they meet the needs of both the discharging clinicians and the GPs. Some professionals reported that the importance and value of the discharge summary was not always understood by those completing it, and they weren’t sure what information was mandatory or not; this sometimes resulted in poor quality, incomplete and inaccurate discharge summaries.

While organisations were keen to engage with patients and provide them with the information they need after discharge, not all trusts knew how this should be done, indicating the need for more best practice examples. Cost was flagged up as an issue by some trusts, who did not have clinical systems to support national standards.

As a result of these findings, the PRSB has put in place plans to develop materials to support Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIOs) and medical directors to drive change locally, as well as creating resources to educate professionals on the importance of a high-quality discharge summary. To make it easier for the e-discharge summary standard to be implemented at organisations that don’t have clinical systems in place, we will review, clarify and communicate the minimum essential information that will be required.

We are also working with NHS Digital which will be conducting first of type testing to ensure messages can be sent in structured coded form with a range of trusts, EPR systems and GP systems. This will help us to help us to make sure the standard is compatible for most major systems suppliers. If you’d like more information about standards or support with implementation, please contact us at info@theprsb.org.

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