eReferral takes it up a notch
|Waikato Hospital’s emergency department (ED) is receiving electronic
referrals from Midlands Health Network’s Waikato general practices,
which makes sure patients’ medical information arrives instantly and
securely at the ED before the patients do.
Midlands Health Network has led a group of health professionals from
Waikato DHB and other Midland region primary health organisations to
further develop an existing and successful electronic referral
(eReferral) system. The development builds on an eReferral system that
already connects 77 Waikato practices to other departments at Waikato
Hospital, such as the radiology department and breast care centre, and
now includes the ED. ED received 326 eReferrals in the first three
weeks since the feature became available on 27 March 2012. Practices
across the Midland region sent 5,300 eReferrals during March 2012, and
this number is increasing each month.
John Crane, chief information officer at Midlands Health Network, says
the success of eReferral to ED has been put down to a user friendly tool
created by Best Practice Advocacy Centre Incorporated, good project
teamwork, and good collaboration between health providers across the
“Clinicians really like the reply add-on to eReferral because it gives
them assurance that their patient is getting the support they need
through better communication pre and post-ED admission,” says John.
“The system works both ways. What that means is the GP is notified when
the patient arrives at ED, if the patient is admitted, and once the
patient has been discharged. If 48 hours pass and a referred patient
hasn’t presented at ED, a message is sent through the eReferral system
to advise their GP, which allows the practice to follow up and ensure
the patient is ok,” he says.
Sue Bluett, practice manager at Te Awamutu Medical Centre, says
immediate updates on the patient’s whereabouts have provided “peace of
mind for the practice”.
“Our nurses no longer need to call ED to ask if a specific patient has turned up,” says Sue.
“Knowing when a patient has been discharged from ED allows us to
pre-empt and prepare for a follow-up GP visit. Overall, communications
between our practice and the hospital have improved and there is less
time wasted on the phone,” she says.
Chief Operating Officer
CEO – Midlands Health Network
Jan Adams, chief operating officer at Waikato DHB, says the relationship between general practices and DHBs is more important than ever.
“The eReferral system is another step in the drive to provide more integrated care between primary and secondary care providers. We have worked closely with Midlands Health Network on the project and are really pleased with the progress,” says Jan.
Midlands Health Network will continue to work on the regional project to allow end-to-end electronic management of GP referrals within the whole Midland region. Sixteen Bay of Plenty and 10 Tairawhiti practices are already using eReferral and will be expanding the existing service to include eReferral to ED in coming months.
Work is also underway to get practices in the Lakes and Taranaki DHBs using the eReferral system.
Midlands Health Network - eReferrals Fact Sheet
Date: 18 April 2012
For more information contact:
CEO – Midlands Health Network
Phone: 027 587 1609