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Every year, more than 35,000 patients are discharged from UHN.
As some individuals are admitted and leave more than once, that generates nearly 50,000 Discharge Summary reports, which are sent to the primary care and referring physicians of each patient.
The Discharge Summary is a clinical report outlining a patient's chief medical conditions. It has such things as significant diagnostic findings over the course of the hospital stay. It also lists recommendations for follow-up care.
Discharge Summaries are integral to family practitioners and other medical specialists who resume the care of UHN's inpatients. The documents are composed by learners of all levels, with guidance from attending staff.
Completing high quality Discharge Summaries is a critical component of the care provided. And, the
UHN Discharge Summary website is designed to help learners understand the importance of Discharge Summary quality and its timely completion and delivery.
"It is very important that learners are aware of what a good Discharge Summary entails and the value provided by one," says Dr. Richard Dunbar-Yaffe, MDCM, Chief Medical Resident, Toronto General Hospital. "Discharge Summaries have to concisely communicate the very complex hospitalization of our patients.
"The summary is a vital method of communication between physicians – one that cannot be substituted with e-mail or phone conversations."
Dr. Dunbar-Yaffe says the UHN Discharge Summary website features many of the positive characteristics looked for in a good document.
"It uses concise and plain language to encourage learners to provide high quality Discharge Summaries," he says. "I would encourage my fellow residents and students to take a few minutes to read through it prior to completing their first Discharge Summary."
To access the UHN Discharge Summary website:
Five tips from Dr. Richard Dunbar-Yaffe on what makes a good Discharge Summary