Practice manager accounts added to MEDrefer

Online referral service MEDrefer has added new functionality for practice managers to its system, allowing them to handle incoming referrals for all of a practice's specialists.

MEDrefer was launched early last year as a streamlined system that allows GPs to refer patients to up to five appropriate specialists electronically, with specialists able to accept or reject the referral at the click of a button and a notification sent back immediately to the GP.

In the original release, MEDrefer required each practitioner to sign up for their own account. The new release allows one practice manager and as many front-desk staff as required to sign up to manage the referrals.

MEDrefer is fully integrated into Best Practice and works with Genie and other clinical and practice management software via the MEDrefer Manager, which is currently in beta.

MEDrefer managing director Brian Sullivan said this new Windows application for specialist practices works in the background to check for incoming referrals, then delivers them in H7 format, allowing them to be automatically imported to most clinical packages.

“The new practice manager accounts allow practice managers or receptionists to act on behalf of the practitioners in their practice for everything other than the issuing of referrals,” Mr Sullivan said.

“The practice manager can then update the availability of the doctor manually, or directly from the Genie appointment book. It puts the practice manager in control and that's the way most specialist practices like it. The practice manager registers his or herself rather than the specialist.”

MEDrefer has also developed a registration wizard that lets practice managers set up their practice, listing all their practitioners' profiles to receive referrals. When the report is ready, the practice manager just needs to click reply to send the report, or alternatively send a Did Not Attend notification.

Specialists and allied health practitioners who don't have practice management software can still use the system as it is fully online. All they need is an internet connected computer and an email address, Mr Sullivan said.

While the idea is to replace paper referrals, MEDrefer is still considering setting up autofax capability, as many specialists still prefer to receive referrals by fax.

While it has always been free for GPs to use, there is a small cost to specialists. The system was launched with a charge for each referral accepted, but has now changed to a subscription model. It will now cost $15 per month or $150 per year for unlimited referrals, Mr Sullivan said.

In the future, MEDrefer is looking to expand into aged care and the company is also exploring the nascent telehealth market with the potential to use MEDrefer as a referral system for specialists who do telehealth. Mr Sullivan said.

In the meantime, the company is putting more attention on allied health.

“Allied health is where the company is really concentrating on now,” he said. “While MEDrefer spent a lot of time building up a directory of GPs and specialists, we only have about 4000 of the estimated 50,000 allied health practitioners, and allied health lives or dies by referrals.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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