Why aren’t we better at sharing transfer of care information?

Why aren’t we better at sharing transfer of care information?

As a general practitioner in North-West London, I receive a sizable number of transfer of care notices in the form of clinic letters and discharge summaries from neighbourhood and regional acute trusts and community care organisations. Three (full time equivalent) administrative staff members work with our chemists to reconcile medication, code procedures and diagnoses, and forward summaries that call for GP actions like reviews or onward referrals. Every day, they spend at least half a day processing discharges. Although this labor-intensive process is essential to ensuring patient safety, it is frustrating that GP systems do not more easily and efficiently absorb this information. Every day, 1.5 million people in the country use NHS services, and hundreds of thousands of those interactions entail discharges.

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