Information practices of health care professionals related to patient discharge from hospital

Inform Health Soc Care. 2015;40(3):198-209. doi: 10.3109/17538157.2013.879150. Epub 2014 Jan 29.


Objective: To investigate the practices of hospital professionals in providing information to patients and to professionals in primary care at patient discharge from hospital.

Methods: We used a qualitative methodology with individual face-to-face interviews with 22 hospital physicians and nurses.

Results: We identified two themes in the information practices of health care professionals at patient discharge from hospital: (i) producing information in parallel processes and (ii) challenges in tailoring information to different recipients.

Conclusion: Hospital routines and professional norms prescribing that discharge information should take place in parallel processes by hospital physicians and by nurses impede transparency and interdisciplinary coordination in primary care. A strong focus on providing patients only with information that is tailored for them neglects the interest patients may have in seeing what information about them is transmitted to primary care.

Practice implications: Hospital routines and professional culture are important factors to consider in efforts to promote more transparent health care for patients and improved interdisciplinary communication. This is not only a matter of attitudes in the individual health care professional. In the development of solutions for electronic exchange of information in health care, all these factors should be taken into account.

Keywords: Discharge; communication accommodation theory; information practices; patient information; qualitative study.

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, University / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Qualitative Research