300,000 eReferrals and counting

News
20 Mar 2014

The eReferrals programme, that is moving paper-based patient referrals to an electronic format, has processed its 300,000th successful South Island eReferral.

eReferrals, a combination of the Electronic Request Management System (ERMS) and Orion Health’s Referral Management System (RMS), is one of four main programmes being implemented by the South Island Alliance, a collaboration of the five South Island DHBs working toward more innovative and efficient health services for improved population health outcomes.

Following three years of development effort between the Canterbury Initiative, Pegasus Health, and Orion Health, eReferrals has been rolled out to Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, South Canterbury, and West Coast DHBs.  Planning is now underway to include Southern DHB to complete the regional eReferral solution.

Southern DHB-based Chair of the Information Services Service Level Alliance (IS SLA) Dr Andrew Bowers said eReferrals improves the reliability of the referrals process while providing greater transparency in the way DHBs prioritise patients.

“By reducing administrative burden and improving clinical process we can focus more on patient quality and care than ever before.

“For our patients, this means an improved transition between health care providers and better access to care when they need it,” he said.

Referrals will go directly from GPs to secondary care; the system is secure and auditable, ensuring patients’ privacy, as well as the ability to monitor the progress of the eReferral through the referral process.

“This is one of many electronic systems and tools that will improve patient centred care as health care providers from the community through to hospitals will be better connected,” said Dr Bowers.

Simon Wynn-Thomas, a General Practitioner at Mount Pleasant Medical Centre in Christchurch and Senior Clinical Leader at Pegasus, said ERMS has received positive feedback from many of the Canterbury General Practitioners who have used it.

“Most say the time taken to write a referral letter has been reduced because ERMS pre-populates the letter with relevant demographic and clinical information.”

As the rollout continues across the South Island, work has begun on additional referral management functionality that will allow for both electronic triage and internal referrals.