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Psychiatric discharge summaries: what do general practitioners want?

Jaco Serfontein, David Dodwell, Purvy Patel
Mental Health in Family Medicine 2011, 8 (3): 167-71
Aims As part of an initiative to improve and standardise our discharge summaries, we investigated the preferences of general practitioners (GPs) with regards to the information provided in summaries.Method Our study methods included sending a questionnaire to all GPs in our area gathering their views on what information to include in discharge summaries on first and on subsequent inpatient episodes.Results The response rate was 68%. Most GPs wanted a comprehensive first discharge summary, particularly stressing the importance of practical information. Subsequent discharge summaries could exclude case histories.Clinical implications Contrary to previous studies indicating a demand for brief reports, this survey indicates that the GPs surveyed value considerable detail in adult psychiatry discharge summaries. It is important to include these views in setting standards for the auditing process and before implementing changes.


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