The transfer of information between primary and secondary care in regards to patient referral and discharge, and solutions, strategies and training initiatives surrounding this were among the important themes emerging from an interesting study we recently sponsored which has just been published.
The main aim of the project was to investigate experiences of clinical incidents in healthcare settings from the perspectives of both healthcare professionals and patients, and determine key strategies for improving healthcare services and transitions in care.In a 2016 report, Medisec, in collaboration with Healthcare Consultant Mary Culliton, identified the key risks for GPs and were keen to further explore the main risks arising from the interaction between hospitals, GPs and pharmacists at the points of a patient’s admission to, and discharge from, hospital.
The study, a collaboration between Medisec and the University of Limerick Hospitals Group, was based in the Mid-West, with healthcare professionals from primary care sites (GP practices and pharmacies) and secondary care hospitals. The steering group included representatives from the State Claims Agency (SCA), Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), School of Pharmacy Trinity College Dublin, Schools of Medicine: University of Limerick (UL) and University College Dublin (UCD), Medical Council, World Health Organisation (WHO) Patients For Patients’ Safety, Health Service Executive (HSE), UL Hospitals. The project was managed by Ms Culliton and UL Researcher Dr Dorothy Leahy PhD.
The lead investigator was Clinical Director at UL Hospitals Dr John Kennedy. Academic support was provided by Professor Walter Cullen UCD, Professor Paul Finucane and Dr Dorothy Leahy, UL Hospitals.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with healthcare professionals including GPs, pharmacists, consultants, hospital doctors, nurses and administration staff and a focus group with patients from primary and secondary care.
The analysis of participant data illustrated the following:
The objective of the steering group is to use the findings of the report to initiate improvements in the communication between primary and secondary healthcare sectors. There is continued collaboration of the agencies involved to action the recommendations identified and we, in Medisec, are committed to supporting the process.