Electronic system closes communication gap for mental health patients

GPs are now receiving swift clinical updates on Cheshire mental health patients thanks to a ground breaking electronic delivery system.

East Cheshire Adult Mental Health Inpatient Services, part of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), is using Medisec Software’s MedisecNET system to deliver electronic discharge summaries to GP surgeries in Cheshire within 24 hours of a patient leaving hospital. The summaries give GPs crucial clinical information on the mental health of often vulnerable people.

The average time spent by admin staff to send a discharge summary has been cut dramatically to just over a day, compared to well over a week by conventional manual methods.  75% of discharge summaries are now being delivered within the 24 hour NHS quality target.

Sue Barley, Informatics Project Manager at CWP explains: “Using an electronic delivery system has proved to be a great benefit for the Trust; freeing up admin and clinical time, as well as reducing paper and postage.”

She continues: “More importantly, we are able to meet national standards and achieve contractual targets in respect of discharge notifications.  This successful project is one of a number of initiatives that CWP is undertaking to improve communication between the Trust and GPs.

“One of the quality targets within the Commissioner Contracts is for GP surgeries to receive discharge summaries within 24 hours of discharge and discharge letters within 10 days of discharge.  The use of an electronic solution improves the speed at which the e-discharge summary is dispatched and received by the GP.”

The system has been developed in conjunction with Cheshire ICT, which manages the electronic delivery network for discharge letters for three Acute Trusts in Cheshire.

Debi Lees, Customer Service Delivery Manager, Cheshire ICT Service added: “The great thing about the Medisec solution is the fact that the mental health team hasn’t had any large IT outlay as they can simply plug into the existing delivery network.

“The clear audit trail the technology provides also means that both parties can see delivery on service level agreements clearly.”

The digital system is supported by a centralised print function for the rare occasions where a GP might not be able to receive a discharge summary electronically.

Following the success of the first phase, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is now set to roll out the same technology to East Cheshire CWP’s Learning Disabilities Inpatient Service, with further services also planned.

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