Background: Discharge summaries (DCS) are vital in facilitating handover to community colleagues. Unfortunately, at Whittington Health, General Practitioners (GPs) found it difficult to identify relevant information in DCS, and use of medical jargon meant patients did not understand details of their admission. With this quality improvement project, the team aimed to improve DCS to enhance patient-centered care.
Objective: The aim of this quality improvement project (QIP) was to improve the quality of DCS by critiquing the ones produced within our trust and implementing various interventions.
Methods: Multiple Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles were completed. A multi-disciplinary meeting was conducted to identify the needs of each party in a DCS. A new template was subsequently launched. Teaching was conducted and educational leaflets were disseminated hospital-wide. Quality of written communication was audited quarterly, and evaluated against quality indicators. Problems with DCS were identified via GP and patient feedback, and these became the focus of subsequent PDSA cycles.
Results: From March 2019 to February 2020, all the audited categories improved, with an overall improvement from 67% to 92%. We also received positive feedback from GPs.
Conclusions: Quality of DCS can be improved with appropriate interventions, leading to improved patient care. A similar PDSA cycle could be utilized elsewhere to achieve similar results.
Keywords: Discharge summary; PDSA cycle; audit; patient satisfaction; quality improvement.