Need for Improvement of Medical Records
Introduction: A medical record is a systematic documentation of a patient’s medical history and care for legal and future use. A poor quality medical record can negatively affect patient care and safety. The study aims to assess the adequacy of medical records in Bir Hospital, a central hospital.
Methods:A cross-sectional study was conducted by analyzing consecutive discharge summaries of patients admitted during a 6 month period in a single unit of a tertiary care center. The discharge summary format of the hospital was taken as the standard and evaluation for adequacy of data entered was assessed. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze various statistical discrepancies.
Results: Patient’s condition at discharge was missing in 86 (66.15%). Patient’s address was missing in 21 (16.1%) cases. Almost all the discharge sheets lacked mailing address. Total 96 (73.8%) had use of abbreviations diagnosis. Age and sex were missing in 1 (0.76%). Doctor’s signature was illegible in 103 (79.3%) and missing in 2 (1.5%) summaries. Doctor’s name and their level/position were missing in 118 (90.76%) and 125 (96.1%) respectively. Total 126 patients (96.9%) were not given any instructions on discharge.
Conclusions: The discharge summaries analyzed were seen to be inadequate especially in documenting course during the hospital stay, condition at discharge, appropriate instructions and the treating physician’s details. These can probably be addressed by introducing electronic medical records if feasible. Otherwise, the discharge summary should be standardized and doctors should be trained to write legible, complete discharge summaries.
Key Words: discharge, hospital, records, summaries
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