Ground-breaking new e-Referral service launched

A ground-breaking new e-Referral service called SR Specialists & Referrals has launched in Victoria and Tasmania.

The free service sees the Medical Specialists Directory available online and integrated within HealthLink’s software so GPs can seamlessly search, select and e-Refer to any private specialist in the directory.

The trusted directory is used by most GPs to search for private specialists and will still be available in hard copy to give GPs a choice of how they’d like to view it.

By moving the directory online and linking it with HealthLink’s e-Referral software, GPs will save precious time and have peace of mind knowing their referral has made it quickly and securely to the selected specialist with all the relevant, legible information.

Health IT company HealthLink and Cervin Media, which has published the Medical Specialists Directory for the past 20 years, have worked together to deliver the new service.

Standardised form for all e-Referrals

HealthLink lead tech, customer support and deployment, Lawrence Peterson says the new service is a game changer for GPs and specialists.

“GPs can now do an e-Referral in one seamless process using a standardised form to refer to any private specialist in the directory. They can also attach relevant images and reports directly from within the patient medical record.

“GPs can say goodbye to importing templates and using out-of-date local address books,” he says.

A key feature of the integration is the ability to easily and clearly see which specialists can be referred to electronically.

The service is available to GPs using the two main practice management systems (PMSs), Medical Director and Best Practice via HealthLink. Similarly, specialists can receive the e-Referrals via their HealthLink account.

Mr Peterson says HealthLink is planning to launch a portal soon for the specialists who may not have a compliant PMS so they can access the referral through a web browser.

There are plans to roll the service out next to New South Wales and ACT, and then finally nationwide.

Seamless, intuitive process

Cervin Media general manager Dr Carmel Cervin says the current referral system in Australia is quite messy and fragmented and takes several time-consuming steps.

“The new service takes away that messiness, hassle and uncertainty with one seamless process that is intuitive and easy to use.”

Dr Cervin says the majority of specialists in the directory can be referred to electronically. However, if a specialist can’t be, the GP can still search and view them online and then print off a manual referral to send.

“With the directory now online, it means we can update specialist’s information and details immediately and provide even more detailed information on specialist services and locations,” she says.

“We want to make life easier for GPs and specialists and help them take better care of their patients by offering a smooth, e-Referral process.”

HealthLink CEO Michelle Creighton says HealthLink is delighted to be partnering with Cervin Media to bring the service to Australian healthcare providers.

“The SR Specialists & Referrals solution will make it easier for GPs to refer patients to the best care possible. Not only will GPs save time, specialists will be provided with a higher-quality referral, which is better for the health outcome of patients,” she says.

eReferral capability for My Aged Care now available through SmartForms

Written by Kate McDonald
First published by Pulse+IT on 4/11/2019

Doctors can now electronically refer their patients to My Aged Care directly from their practice management systems following a three-month trial using HealthLink’s SmartForms technology.

The capability is live in recent versions of MedicalDirector, Best Practice and Genie. A Department of Health spokesperson said the department will be monitoring take-up and feedback in the next six to 12 months to potentially roll it out to other channels.

“If this proves to be a useful product and is adopted by general practitioners, the department will then consider broadening the scope,” the spokesperson said.

Previously, doctors wanting to refer their patients had to phone the My Aged Care contact centre, fax a referral or use an external webform.

The new capability will not only let them send the referral from their PMS but receive an acknowledgement in real time along with a reference number with the confirmation receipt that can be used to follow up on referrals by calling My Aged Care.

The PMSs also have the ability to store referrals so users can refer back to what has been sent.

The spokesperson said the capability was trialled in July 2019 with a pilot group of GP practices to seek user feedback of the solution based on real cases. “The feedback helped inform further enhancements, which were implemented during the pilot,” the spokesperson said.

“Wider rollout to compatible sites who already have access to SmartForm functionality through HealthLink commenced from October 26, following initial promotion at the RACGP GP19 conference in Adelaide last week.”

The spokesperson said the eReferral form has initially been rolled out to sites running compatible versions of the three software systems that already access SmartForms through HealthLink.

SmartForms is integrated into MedicalDirector 3.16 and above, Best Practice Lava SP3 and above, Genie v8.8 and above, as well as Medtech Evolution 10.4.4 and above.

Funding for the roll out was provided as part of a $61.7 million package allocated in the 2018-19 federal budget to revamp the My Aged Care system. Money has also gone to a redevelopment of the website, and to a new Client Summary page on the My Aged Care portals, with consumers now able to view the progress of their package.

HealthLink first introduced SmartForms to the Australian market in 2016. It is used by NSW Roads and Maritime for fitness to drive medical assessments, which HealthLink says now has upwards of 300 assessments per day being submitted.

It is also being used for Victoria’s eReferrals platform, which delivers around 2000 referrals per month into Austin, Eastern and Northern Health, and by the ACT for its authority to prescribe request form, which handles around 400 requests per month.

Disclaimer: Pulse+IT and HealthLink are both part of the Clanwilliam Group.


Click here for more info on My Aged Care e-Referrals, including user guides.