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Title: Exploration of care continuity during the hospital discharge process
Author: Yemm, Rowan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 7579
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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Background Communication regarding medicines at hospital discharge via discharge summaries is notoriously poor and negatively impacts on patient care. With the process being dependant on the quality of patient records during admission, junior doctors who write them and General Practitioners (GPs) who receive them, the objectives of this thesis were, with respect to discharge summaries, to:-  assess their timeliness, accuracy and quality  describe GP preferences  explore experiences of junior doctors regarding their preparation. Methods Discharge summaries produced from one district general hospital were audited, as was the impact of changing the format of inpatient drug charts. A combination of observation, think-aloud and ethnographic interviews were conducted to investigate experiences of junior hospital doctors preparing summaries. A survey of GPs and junior doctors was undertaken to compare attitudes towards the discharge process. A pilot Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) was developed and undertaken with GPs to determine their preferences with respect to the format, quality and timing of discharge summaries. Results A large proportion of discharge summaries were found to be inaccurate, however this was reduced when checked by a pharmacist. Key barriers to summary preparation identified were lack of time, training and knowledge of the patient. GPs perceived medicine changes on discharge summaries to be more important than did junior doctors. The DCE found that GPs were willing to trade timeliness of discharge summaries with accuracy. Discussion and conclusions The error rate within discharge summaries highlights the importance of a pharmacy accuracy check. The national requirement to deliver discharge summaries within 24 hours of discharge results in the pharmacist being bypassed and places additional pressure on junior doctors to prepare them in a timely manner, which might provide explanation for poor quality. Interestingly, GPs were willing to forego receipt of discharge summaries within 24 hours in preference for a reduced error rate. Keywords: patient discharge, discharge summary, patient transfer, interdisciplinary communication, medication errors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available