Go to top of page

A discharge summary is defined as "A collection of information about events during care by a provider or organisation." [AS4700.6(Int)2007].  It comprises a document produced during a patient's stay in hospital.

Discharge summaries in the Australian context

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report totals 756 public and 561 private hospitals in Australia who will potentially be a source of discharge summaries, and some 22,589 (20,029 FTE) primary care practitioners who will likely be a recipient of a discharge summary.

There are also about 8.1 million hospital separations per year in Australia, of which around 57 per cent are same-day admissions [AIHW-AHS2010]. Note: Many same-day admissions (e.g., patients who are admitted for dialysis, same-day chemotherapy and other procedures involving repetitive same-day admissions) would not normally require a discharge summary.

Unlike the pathology or medication sub-sectors, there are currently no specific national or state legislative or regulatory requirements for discharge summaries. However, a number of position statements from peak, state and national bodies are available (e.g., the Australian Medical Association).

Jurisdictions maintain their own policies and individual hospitals and area health services use more detailed policies.

Context in digital health

There are a number of key business flows that occur within digital health in Australia, as outlined in Figure 1 below.

Discharge Summary Diagram

Figure 1: Discharge summary high-level overview

These flows are described below:

  1. Upon discharge of a patient, the clinician creates a discharge summary in their local hospital system.
  2. The authoring system sends the discharge summary to the intended recipient(s). These could be communicated via electronic secure messaging channels or fax.
  3. The authoring system sends the discharge summary to the consumer’s My Health Record.
  4. Anyone with relevant access to the consumer’s My Health Record can access the discharge summary.

Feature specifications

Discharge Summary v1.5.2

EP-2656:2018

Discharge Summary documents support the transfer of a patient from a hospital back to the care of their nominated primary healthcare provider.

Tuesday, 24 Jul 2018

Supporting specifications

National Authentication Service for Health v1.0

EP-1011:2012

The National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) makes it possible for healthcare providers and supporting organisations to securely access and exchange health information.

NASH provides Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Certificates that help you or your organisation to:

Friday, 30 Mar 2012

Related specifications

Roadmap

Roadmap: 
June, 2020
Incomplete
This product is in maintenance mode and no further releases are planned at this stage. The Agency may publish maintenance releases to address any defects. When new releases become available, the Agency will send out email notifications to anyone who has previously downloaded the product. Discharge Summary documents support the transfer of a patient from a hospital back to the care of their nominated primary healthcare provider. This product is in maintenance mode and no further releases are planned at this stage. The Agency may publish maintenance releases to address any defects. When new releases become available the Agency will send out email notifications to anyone who has previously downloaded the product.
August, 2014
Completed
Discharge Summary v1.5.1 - Current Version. This incremental release of the Discharge Summary end product introduces the Template Package Library as a new product component. This document type was previously referred to as eDischarge Summary. The current name reflects the naming in the My Health Record system.
October, 2013
Completed
eDischarge Summary v1.5 supports the transfer of a patient from a hospital to their primary healthcare provider. It offers a national standard for capturing details of the patient's hospital stay, in a structured and machine readable format.
May, 2012
Completed
eDischarge Summary v1.3 identified that the formatting of the Conformance Profile document associated with this re-release was corrupted during its conversion to a PDF. An updated version of the onformance Profile document is being released to address this issue.
August, 2010
Completed
eDischarge Summary v1.1 and eDischarge Summary v1.2 was withdrawn. The scope of this release of the Discharge Summary package includes a clinical Discharge Summary that supports continuity of patient care, discharge of a patient from acute care and admission to final discharge into the community.
July, 2009
Completed
eDischarge Summary v1.0 was the first version published. Development of the Discharge Summary specification and the associated data groups began in 2003 by the Clinical Information Program. This specification builds on that workthat was primarily undertaken to support the design and implementation of shared health event summaries within the HealthConnect initiative.