ST VINCENT’S HOSPITAL
ELECTRONIC DISCHARGE SUMMARIES Sydney’s St Vincent’s & Mater Health introduced electronic discharge summaries in January last year. Nothing new, you might say, but the difference with St Vincent’s is that it is the testing ground for delivering high quality discharge information in a standardised format that all GP software systems can read, and which can be uploaded to the patient’s PCEHR at the push of a button.
KATE MCDONALD Journalist: Pulse+IT email@example.com
When St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney began work on introducing electronic discharge summary functionality in 2011, it did so with two clear objectives in mind: to add value to the information sent to a patient’s GP, and to ensure safe clinical handover. As part of its work with the Eastern Sydney Connect Wave 2 project, however, it was also tasked with developing some elements of electronic discharge summaries that have not faced other hospitals or health systems that have instituted the practice, including creating and rendering the summaries as CDA documents, ensuring they can be received and viewed in the correct GP’s desktop system, and at the same time developing the ability to upload the summary to the patient’s PCEHR.
About the author Kate McDonald is a senior staff journalist for Pulse+IT. Formerly the editor of Australian Life Scientist magazine, she has also edited industry titles Hospital & AgedCare and Nursing Review. Her interests cover health ICT, biotechnology and translational research.
Those extra elements have been difficult to institute, and the work is far from over, but as of 2012, the vast majority of patients discharged from St Vincent’s are provided with a detailed, clinically useful discharge summary that can be sent to the patient’s GP and be uploaded to the PCEHR. St Vincent’s is the first hospital in Australia to achieve this feat, and its clinical information system provider, Emerging Systems, is the first vendor to integrate the functionality within its installed product.
Now, St Vincent’s is able to send and receive four types of CDA documents – discharge summaries, eReferrals, specialist letters and events summaries – to and from GPs, and also send them up to the PCEHR through EHS. The module of functionality within EHS that links the GPs to the hospital is called GP Connect, and the module that links the hospital to the PCEHR is called PCEHR Connect. It has taken a lot of human hours and quite a lot of money, but the team that has developed the new functionality believes that the end result – real information sharing between GP, hospital and patient, as well as improved clinical handover – is a worthwhile objective. Today, St Vincent’s consistently achieves 82 per cent of patients leaving hospital with a discharge summary. That summary contains a great deal of valuable information that is drawn from a number of different systems, including Emerging Systems’ EHS clinical information system and CSC’s MedChart electronic medications management system, to provide a clinically useful document. According to Adrian Verryt, St Vincent’s internal change and adoption manager for the PCEHR, the system has been designed so that the junior doctors tasked with