Development of Discharge Letter Module onto a Hospital Information System
Wambura W, Wambura
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Hospital Discharge Letter (DL) is an important means to communicate the information of the patient's hospital visit, treatments and care plans to the next caregiver and, possibly also, to the patient. Timely, precise and comprehensive discharge information transfer between patients care providers is critical for ensuring patients safety and effective care. A growing number of hospitals in Tanzania are implementing an open source system, Care2x as health information system (HIS). One of the weaknesses for Care2x is that it cannot generate an electronic discharge letter. The main objective of this study was to develop an electronic discharge letter module and integrate it into Care2x HIS. Nine (9) physicians from three (3) hospitals, who were users of the Care2x system, were interviewed using a qualitative structured questionnaire to obtain their views and opinions on the contents of the discharge letter and corresponding usability requirements. Thereafter, a literature review on the key terms was done for Hospital Discharge Letter, Hospital Discharge Communication, and Care2x system. The DL module was developed and the users’ user experiences were collected on the use of the developed discharge letter. In this study, the users were very satisfied with the electronic discharge letter. The users saw that the discharge letter module solved many problems associated with the handwritten letter in terms of timeliness of production, the correctness of information, content, and legibility in hospitals which use Care2x. Further studies are required to incorporate also the patient’s requirements in the DL and to improve the exchange of DL between hospitals regardless of the HIS in use. However, to make this information exchange possible, there should first be interoperability and integration of Care2x HIS with other organizations’ patient information systems.