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Hospital discharge scheme: ‘It enhances patient care and saves time’


By Saša Janković

19 Jan 2021

Andrew Weinronk speaks to Saša Janković about how his pharmacy is helping to improve the care of patients who have recently been discharged from hospital.

Service type: Community pharmacy access to the local hospital trust patient record – the Health Information Exchange (HIE).

Name and location of pharmacy: M & A Weinronk, Pensby, Wirral.

Name of pharmacist: Andrew Weinronk.

Why did you start offering this service? 

We started offering this service in May 2020. We were asked to be a pilot site for this service by Pippa Roberts, the director of pharmacy and medicines optimisation at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals (WUTH). She is a fantastic advocate for community pharmacy playing its full role in patient care and is always keen to include us in any service developments. Accessing the Health Information Exchange (HIE) means we can improve the care of patients who have been recently discharged from hospital because it allows us to access the same information about them as GPs. This then enables the pharmacy to ensure patients receive their correct medicines following discharge, as well as appropriate advice.

This has made a big difference because in the past we relied heavily on patients bringing a copy of their discharge letter into the pharmacy, usually at the last minute before the next supply was due. This new service allows us to receive discharge information in a timely way so that the care we provide is done proactively, and from the patients’ point of view is done in a more seamless way. 

How much did it cost to set up the service? 

There were no additional costs for us to set this up apart from training time for staff and getting the connection to the server via the N3 connection (which took a few days to sort via our PMR provider).

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo? 

We had one short training session on how to log on to the system, and how to navigate round the patient record. Pharmacists and technicians had already completed training on confidentiality and consent etc during SCR training so I limited access rights to those members of staff. 

In a nutshell, what does the service involve? 

The pharmacists and technicians have a log in to the HIE. When we receive a notification via PharmOutcomes that a patient has been discharged, we contact the patient to check how much medication they were discharged with and ask their permission to access their record. If they consent, we log on to the HIE and search for the patient. We can then access the discharge letter that was sent to the GP as well as any blood and other test results and clinic notes. We check for any changes to medication and if it’s a patient we order for, we will request the latest medicines. If not, we will contact the patient and make sure they understand the changes, and in particular the names of the new medicines they have been prescribed.  

Are there any opportunities to sell over the counter or prescription products during the consultation or after it? 

No. 

How have patients responded to the service? 

Our patients are happy that we can sort out their medicines quickly, especially if any changes were made during their stay in hospital. 

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service? 

It started off slowly but now we use it for all patients for whom we receive a discharge summary from WUTH.

How much do you charge for the service? 

There is no charge to the patient

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service? 

We don’t make any money from the service but we can use it as an opportunity to provide MURs and it will benefit us for the new Discharge Medicine Service (DMS). We do it to improve patient care and to ensure we are dispensing the correct medicines and advice following hospital discharge. 

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors? 

Yes definitely, as it enhances patient care. It saves time by ensuring we do not have to contact the GP practice to obtain discharge information, and enables us to provide a more complete and professional clinical pharmacy service to patients at a time when they may be confused about new medicines. 

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