New PRSB standards for digital outpatient letters allow clinical information to be recorded, exchanged and accessed consistently across care settings.
Due to the rise in the number of specialist services delivered out of hospitals, well-structured outpatient letters have become increasingly important to provide good care. Outpatient letters are the main method of contact and communication between hospital staff and GPs, and are often the sole record of the consultation held by the outpatient department and hospital.
The PRSB has published a new standard for outpatient letters, designed to improve and standardise the content of outpatient letters so that professionals, patients and carers receive consistent, reliable, high quality information. between clinicians and patients.
These standards will improve continuity of care by helping clinicians to communicate relevant information more quickly, reducing transcription errors by enabling re-use of key data in the GP system and producing better information for audit and research by carrying information in coded format, where appropriate.
The PRSB is publishing the outpatient letter standards in draft form while it undergoes endorsement by our relevant member organisations. The standard may change in its final form but we expect any changes to be minor. Providers may begin incorporating the standard into their systems but should be aware there may be minor amendments in due course. The final version will be published on the PRSB as soon as it is available.
Supporting documents for the Outpatient letter standard
Download or view our supporting documents from this page.
Implementation Guidance - Outpatient Letter Standards
This guidance sets out issues identified during the project which relate to the implementation of the headings and sub-headings. They are not intended to be comprehensive, but just those issues identified at this stage. It is expected that further guidance will be produced from the experience of initial implementations.
Outpatient letter examples
Clinicians from different specialties were asked to compose example outpatient letters to represent different types of appointments (initial and follow-up, doctor, and AHP led clinics) to demonstrate how the information might be best structured. The letters were quality assured by the PRSB assurance committee.
The standard contents - Mindmap version
View the Outpatients letter standard as a mindmap.
Please note: You will be able to view this in your browser without the need for Mindmap software.
Outpatient letter standard - Final Report
The final report outlines the process taken to reach the final standard. This is currently in draft form while we await endorsement.
Transfers of Care clinical safety case report
The combined Clinical Safety Case document sets out the work done to manage clinical safety risks associated with four PRSB transfer of care projects between hospital and general practice. These include the e-discharge summary, mental health discharge summary, emergency care (EC) discharge summary and outpatient letter standards.
The Hazard Log records both generic and specific implementation hazards identified during the transfer of care projects. It includes associated mitigations and actions as well as guidance for system developers and implementers:
Draft technical (FHIR) specifications for the Outpatient letter standard
The PRSB is publishing the outpatient letter standards in draft form while it undergoes endorsement by our relevant member organisations. The final version will be published on the PRSB as soon as it is available.