An audit of the accuracy of medication information in electronic medical discharge summaries linked to an electronic prescribing system

Yixin Tan, Rohan A. Elliott, Belinda Richardson, Francine E. Tanner, Michael I. Dorevitch

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Background: Poor communication of medication information to general practitioners when patients are discharged from hospital is a widely recognised problem. There has been little research exploring the accuracy of medication information in electronic discharge summaries (EDS) linked to hospital e-prescribing systems. 

Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of medication lists and medication change information in EDS produced using an integrated e-prescribing and EDS system (where EDS discharge medication lists were imported from discharge e-prescription records, medication change information was manually entered, and medications were dispensed from paper copies of the patients' e-prescriptions). 

Method: Retrospective audit of EDSs for a random sample, representative of adult patients (n = 87) discharged from a major teaching hospital. EDS medication lists were compared to pharmacist-verified paper discharge prescriptions (considered to be the most accurate discharge medication list) to identify discrepancies. EDS medication change information was compared to medication changes identified by comparing pharmacist-verified “Medication History on Admission” forms with pharmacist-verified paper discharge prescriptions. 

Results: There were 85/87 (98%) EDSs that included a discharge medication list. Of these, 50/85 (59%) contained one or more medication list discrepancies (median 1, range 0–15). The most common discrepancy was omission of medication (58%); 84/131 (64%) discrepancies were considered clinically significant (risk of adverse outcome); 162/351 (46%) clinically significant medication changes were stated in the EDS; and 153/351 (44%) changes were both stated and included a reason. 

Conclusion: EDS discrepancies were common despite integration with e-prescribing. Eliminating paper prescriptions, enhancing e-prescribing/EDS functionality and involving pharmacists in EDS preparation may reduce discrepancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Information Management Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • continuity of patient care
  • electronic health records
  • electronic prescribing
  • hospitals
  • patient discharge summaries

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