Web portal for PMS-free eReferrals

A web portal to allow healthcare providers that don't have a practice management system to refer patients electronically is set to go live this month as part of the nationwide roll-out of eReferrals.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said the portal would enable eReferrals to be offered to more providers across the country.

The announcement comes as the three Auckland DHBs move into the final phase of their eReferrals project, which will replace paper referrals within hospitals and between hospitals.

Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau DHBs introduced eReferral between GPs and hospitals through the CareConnect platform in 2012.

The final stage of the project will also allow community providers such as schools, optometrists and NGOs to electronically refer using web forms.

While eReferrals are gaining steam, one quarter of referrals between GPs and hospitals are still done on paper. Figures for Auckland, Waitemata and Counties Manukau between April and June show that of 86,077 referrals made, 64,415 or 75 per cent were sent electronically.

“Replacing hand-written referrals with eReferrals reduces inaccuracies, and produces more detailed information,” Dr Coleman said. “The electronic system saves time for doctors, and reduces the chance of a referral getting lost or being unreadable.”

eReferrals can also be monitored and provide transparency on how DHBs prioritise patients, he said.

The South Island DHBs have also all been using eReferrals through the Electronic Request Management System (ERMS) for some time, with all five capable of using the system since March this year.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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