My Aged Care e-Referrals free up precious time for healthcare workers

From one end of Australia to the other, My Aged Care e-Referrals are saving health professionals precious time so they can focus on what really matters – looking after patients.

The Australian Government’s My Aged Care service is the entry point for older Australians to access government-funded aged care. General practices play a key role in supporting patients to access these services.

My Aged Care introduced e-Referrals to support practices by making the process easier for healthcare workers around the country to refer their patients for an aged care assessment.

Chandler’s Hill Surgery near Adelaide in South Australia was part of the 2019 pilot programme trialling My Aged Care e-Referrals (which are powered by HealthLink) and has continued using them ever since.

Nurse manager Casey Franchi, who’s worked at Chandler’s Hill Surgery for five years, uses e-Referrals on a regular basis. The surgery uses the Best Practice PMS (practice management system).

“They are so easy to use and save so much time. All the patient details are pre-populated, which makes filling it out so much faster, more accurate and more efficient.”

Prior to e-Referrals, Casey used the My Aged Care website to send referrals.

“The website referral is time-consuming compared to e-Referrals because you have to manually type all the patient details in from their file, which can also lead to transcription errors.”

Casey says e-Referrals are so quick and easy to use, she can fill them out during a patient consultation and ask the patient questions while they are there.

“With the website, because it was time-consuming, I’d have to fill the referral out after the patient had left because it required a big chunk of my time to do it. And then if I needed to ask them a question, I’d have to contact them.”

Another benefit of e-Referrals is how easy it is to attach files.

“The e-Referral is in the patient file so you can easily and securely access any documents to upload to back up the referral.”

She says she can’t imagine life without e-Referrals.

“Life is so much easier now and I would recommend them to any general practice. The time saved means I can focus on the important stuff like caring for patients and not on filling out forms.”

My Aged Care director of online services and communication Kylie Sauer says e-Referrals have improved healthcare workers’ experience by offering better integration into their existing workflow and taking away the need to exit their PMS to send a referral.

“Sending a referral by fax or the My Aged Care website takes longer. By pre-populating patient information and GP details, e-Referrals are the fastest and most efficient way to refer patients to My Aged Care,” she says.

“Faxes are particularly slow to process, which results in patients waiting longer to be referred for an assessment.”

 

Warragul Family Medicine also saving precious time

Warragul Family Medicine in Victoria, which also uses Best Practice, has been using My Aged Care e-Referrals since December 2019.

Allied health assistant and medical receptionist Marcia Rollinson previously sent referrals via the My Aged Care website but can’t imagine going back to that method.

“I love e-Referrals. The pre-population of patient details is fantastic and saves me so much time. That’s the best part of the form because it’s so quick and easy.”

She also likes that e-Referrals are automatically saved back into the patient file.

“Previously, I’d have to save it externally somewhere or print it out and have a hard copy file, which was a hassle and not very secure.”

Being able to easily track back electronically to see when an e-Referral was sent is another bonus.

“Previously I’d have to try to think back or go through hard copy files, which was a pain.”

Marcia works two-and-a-half days a week and estimates she saves about an hour a week by using e-Referrals.

She also likes that she’s prompted if she misses a tab that needs to be filled out.

“For some reason there’s one tab I always forget to fill out, but it always prompts me at the end to fill it out, so nothing is missed.”

 


Click here for more information on My Aged Care e-Referral.

 

Here are our user guides which will help you get started:

Best Practice

Medical Director Clinical

Genie Solutions

For more information or technical support regarding the e-Referral forms, please contact the HealthLink help desk on 1800 125 036 or email [email protected]

For more information about My Aged Care, please visit https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/health-professionals

GPs and specialists praise new e-referral service

GPs and specialists are singing the praises of the new SR Specialist & Referrals service, which is now live in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and ACT.

The free service sees the Medical Specialists Directory integrated within HealthLink’s software so GPs can seamlessly search, select, and send electronic referrals to any private specialist in the directory.

Dr Ta Phengsiaroun from Hawker Medical Practice, ACT, succinctly summarises how he’s finding sending referrals through the new service: “It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s precise,” he says.

HealthLink lead technical analyst –  customer support and deployment, Lawrence Peterson, explains how the new service is a game changer for GPs and specialists.

“GPs can now complete 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 the patient medical record, “Mr Peterson says.

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

He says a key feature is the ability to easily and clearly see which specialists can be referred to electronically.

The majority of specialists are live for electronic referrals. However, if a specialist is not live yet for electronic referrals, then the GP can still print off a manual referral to send.

The service is available using the main practice management systems (PMSs) Medical Director, Best Practice, Genie and Medtech via HealthLink. Please watch the short two-minute video about how to use it. You can also give it a go by sending a test referral to the fictitious specialist “Mickey Mouse”.

How SR e-Referrals are helping specialists

Similarly, specialists can receive the SR e-Referrals via their HealthLink account at no charge.

Shelley, the practice manager for foot, knee and ankle orthopaedic surgeon Dr Jacob Kaplan is impressed with the service.

“The new SR electronic referrals are convenient, they save front desk staff valuable time and we look forward to receiving more SR referrals electronically from GPs.”

All specialists registered with HealthLink are welcome to phone SR Specialists & Referrals on 1800 147 047 for a test referral to see how they are received into their software.

More specialists are registering with HealthLink daily to ensure they are also enabled for SR e-Referrals for all their consult locations.

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

Working together to make e-Referrals a reality

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

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.

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.”

“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.”

Further info

Watch a short two-minute video that gives a quick overview of SR Specialists & Referrals.

Download SR e-Referral Quick Guide – steps and screenshots for Medical Director and Best Practice

Download Helpful Features

Cervin Media website – information on SR Specialists & Referrals