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Int J Integr Care. 2010 Apr 21;10:e039.

Electronic exchange of discharge summaries between hospital and municipal care from health personnel's perspectives.

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Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norwegian Centre for Electronic Patient Record Research, Trondheim, Norway. <>



Information and communication technologies (ICT) are seen as potentially powerful tools that may promote integration of care across organisational boundaries. Here, we present findings from a study of a Norwegian project where an electronic interdisciplinary discharge summary was implemented to improve communication and information exchange between the municipal care service and the associated hospital.


To investigate the implications of introduction and use of the electronic discharge summary for health staff, and relate it to the potential for promoting integration of care across the hospital-municipality boundary.


We conducted semi-structured interviews with 49 health care providers. The material was analysed using a three-step process to identify the main themes and categories.


The study showed that the electronic discharge summary contributed to changes in health staff's work processes as well as increased legibility of summaries, and enabled municipal care staff to be better prepared for receiving patients, even though the information content mostly remained unaltered and was not always accurate.


Introduction of electronic discharge summaries did not result in a significant increase in integration of care. However, the project was a catalyst for the collaborating participants to address their interaction from new perspectives.


ICT; discharge summary; electronic message system; hospital; integrated care; municipal health care

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