To strengthen communication and exchange of information between SUS (Stavanger University Hospital) and the health and care sector in Stavanger municipality, SUS started sending electronic discharge reports to the municipality in 2005.
We compared the word count and content of handwritten, paper-based reports with that in electronic reports. The material consists of 69 paper-based reports and 52 electronic reports.
Electronic discharge reports were longer than paper-based reports. Word counts in the physicians' part of the report increased by 172 % from paper-based to electronic reports and that in the nurses' part of the report increased by 43 %. Reporting of administrative and practical information increased substantially. Significant change was found in four of the 24 variables describing specific health issues.
The introduction of electronic discharge reports resulted in longer reports being sent from the hospital to the municipal health and care services, but the information was not necessarily complete or satisfactory for the municipality.