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“GPs can say goodbye to importing templates and using out-of-date local address books.”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

Transport NSW digital forms saving precious time

Submitting Fitness to Drive medical assessments electronically instead of on paper is saving healthcare workers and patients precious time and hassle.

Transport for NSW, using the HealthLink SmartForm technology, now allows Fitness to Drive medical assessments to be submitted electronically making life a lot easier for GPs and patients.

Online medical submissions also protect older drivers and help slow the spread of COVID-19 as patients don’t have to attend a Service NSW Centre to hand in a paper form.

The HealthLink SmartForm is compatible with Medical Director, Best Practice, Genie and Medtech Evolution practice management systems.

Transport for NSW Licence Review Unit Manager Kylie Williams says annual Fitness to Drive medical assessments were required for people over 75, people with certain medical conditions and people holding specific licences.

“Right now, it’s important to think about our older drivers and ways we can work together to help them out as much as possible,” Ms Williams says.

“Helping them avoid a trip to a Service Centre is key. After feedback from doctors, we’ve planned further improvements to the electronic form, making it even quicker and easier to use,” she says.

One medical practice near Sydney, which uses Medical Director, has been using the SmartForm since its inception in 2017.

The practice nurse says they submit a large number of electronic medical assessments via the Transport SmartForms.

“We probably do about 80 a month all up. It saves patients a lot of time and hassle because they no longer have to post all the documents or drive to the Service Centre and wait around for ages for their form to be processed,” she says.

High demand from patients

She says many of the practice’s patients are elderly and living longer, so they have a high number of people needing to submit Fitness to Drive medical assessments.

“Sending the forms by post is slower, and having to drive to the Service Centre is a big ask for a lot of people due to our location. They also have to wait for their form to be processed, which can be stressful for older people.”

She says submitting forms electronically also saves patients money because they don’t have to pay for petrol or parking.

The electronic form is quicker to fill out than the paper-based one, and the electronic submission remains in the patient record, so GPs and nurses can easily access it, she says.

“I’d definitely recommend the electronic form to other practices, especially if you have older patients and aren’t in a big city.”

HealthLink Customer Service and Deployment Lead Technical Analyst Lawrence Peterson says the SmartForm continues to gain popularity across NSW.

“There are 1,350 medical practices now submitting more than 9,000 electronic Fitness to Drive medical assessments each month for their patients.”

How to submit Fitness to Drive medical assessments electronically:

Quick Start Guides for:

 

HealthLink and Konnect NET together under one roof

Auckland-headquartered healthcare technology companies HealthLink and Konnect NET have come together this week not just in spirit, but also in person.

Konnect NET staff moved from their Freemans Bay office into HealthLink’s current premises in Newmarket, Auckland, bringing the two companies together under one roof.

However, there will be no change to current products, services or support for HealthLink and Konnect NET customers.

HealthLink and Konnect NET merged at the end of last year to form Clanwilliam Health. Both companies have been part of the Dublin-headquartered Clanwilliam Group family of businesses since 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Clanwilliam Health is the anchor for Clanwilliam Group’s continued growth, investment and innovation in the Asia-Pacific healthcare technology markets.

Clanwilliam Health CEO Michelle Creighton says she’s excited to have the combined strength of the HealthLink and Konnect NET teams under one roof.

“The merge has felt natural. Our shared values and vision have made for a perfect culture fit. The integration has been seamless so it’s simply business as usual on all fronts,” she says.

“HealthLink and Konnect NET together are financially stronger and more diversified, which means even more value for patients and healthcare providers.”

New Clanwilliam Health website

A new Clanwilliam Health website has also been launched this week.
It has a central landing page from where customers can access the individual HealthLink and Konnect NET websites, both of which remain unchanged. There are plans to eventually bring them together into a more fully integrated website.

“The new website showcases our portfolio of technology solutions across the health sector,” Mrs Creighton says.

“Together with our offices in Sydney and Townsville in Australia, we’re well placed to give our customers the support they need.”

Visit the new Clanwilliam Health website at https://clanwilliam.health

About:

HealthLink:
The market leading healthcare system integrator in Australia and New Zealand. Nearly all secure clinical communications across the New Zealand healthcare system are carried via HealthLink and it’s the largest provider of secure clinical messaging services in Australia.

Konnect NET:
Konnect NET was established in 2008 and its SureMed product is used by major New Zealand insurers to manage health information requests for underwriting and claims. Konnect NET has a growing presence in the Hong Kong market.

For more information please contact:
Maggie McNaughton
Clanwilliam Health publicist
+64 21 613198
[email protected]

New e-Referral SmartForm for Canberra Health Services

Life for Canberra and southern NSW GPs just got a whole lot easier with the introduction of a new, secure e-Referral system.

The launch of the new e-Referral SmartForm follows a successful eight-week pilot program with 16 practices.

Patients can now be referred electronically to Canberra Health Services (CHS) outpatient and community services in real time from within a GP’s practice management system (PMS) in one easy, seamless process.

The new standardised SmartForm is integrated within the latest versions of Best Practice, Genie and Medical Director PMSs making it easy for GPs to access and use.

Successful pilot programme

The launch of the new Smart Form follows a successful eight-week pilot programme with a select group of Canberra GPs. This was led by the CHS project team and supported by ACT Health and HealthLink.

The engagement with GPs across Canberra was extremely valuable to ensure that systems were functional on both ends within the infrastructure constraints.

Throughout the pilot period the CHS project team were proactive in resolving GPs concerns to ensure a safe, timely and efficient referral process. This resulted in making the SmartForm more user friendly and GPs having confidence in the process.

“It was important we trialled the system and listened to feedback from users, which we did. The feedback helped us modify and streamline the system and make it better for users, for example, resolving issues around attaching HTML documents, speed concerns and login problems,” the team says.

“For GPs, this should become the most efficient way to refer into CHS. For people receiving the e-Referral, it’s quick, secure and easy with all of the required patient information, which in the end is better for patient outcomes.”

CHS will continue to engage with the GP community to further evaluate and monitor this.

Benefits

The CHS outpatient management team says the benefits of e-Referrals are massive, including saving GPs precious time.

It’s particularly important GPs know their e-Referral has made it to its intended location. With e-Referrals, GPs get an immediate acknowledgement from CHS that it’s been received, with a unique reference number. This is a small step towards a seamless digital referral process in the future.

The new SmartForm can be pre-populated with patient demographics, past medical and medication history, directly from the PMS, saving GPs time and hassle.

In addition, GPs can clearly see an accurate, up-to-date list of CHS outpatient and community services they can e-Refer to, making the process fast and efficient. The Smart Form includes a drop-down list of current CHS Specialists, Allied Health and Nursing Services.

GPs can also easily attach relevant supporting documents such as reports, letters and results that enables effective triage process and reduces delays.

Work has now commenced on taking advantage of the SMART in the SmartForm by developing service specific templates where they will add further to streamlining referral and triaging process.

If you would like to obtain access to the e-referral SmartForm, would like more information or have any questions, please contact HealthLink on 1800 125 036 or email [email protected]

CHS has produced a handy FAQ sheet for GPs and a web page with quick start guides for different PMSs.

HealthLink and Konnect NET to merge to form Clanwilliam Health

Auckland-based healthcare technology companies HealthLink and Konnect NET are merging to form a new organisation named Clanwilliam Health.

The merger will take place over December 2019 and January 2020 and will see Konnect NET staff move from their Freemans Bay office to HealthLink’s current premises in Newmarket.

Clanwilliam Health will be led by the same team that has successfully led both HealthLink and Konnect NET for several years.

Michelle Creighton, CEO of HealthLink, will serve as CEO of Clanwilliam Health and Mike Weiss, CEO of Konnect NET, will serve as deputy CEO. They will be supported by a leadership team drawn from both businesses.

HealthLink and Konnect NET have been part of the Dublin-headquartered Clanwilliam Group family of businesses since 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Beginning in 2017, Clanwilliam Group has invested in excess of NZ$100 million in the Australasian healthcare technology market. Clanwilliam Group remains committed to investing in strong and innovative healthcare technology businesses that support clinicians in delivering great care to their patients.

Clanwilliam Health will be the anchor for Clanwilliam Group’s continued growth, innovation and investment in the Australasian market.

Stronger together

Combining the strengths of two great companies will create a financially stronger business that is better able to invest in its products, people and customer service.

It will be business as usual for HealthLink and Konnect NET customers with no change to the current products, services and support.

Ms Creighton says the merger formalises the sense of partnership the two organisations already enjoy.

“It’s the blending of two teams who share a common vision of innovation to improve patient outcomes. Together we can better execute Clanwilliam Group’s vision of making healthcare better for everyone”.

She says together they will strengthen their solution offerings to the sector.

“We’re already capitalising on that with a joint development project that we look forward to sharing with the market in 2020.”

Best of both businesses

Mr Weiss says the drive behind both HealthLink and Konnect NET is to create better health outcomes for patients.

“We have passionate people from both organisations who already share this common purpose.”

He says they have the support of a great leadership team to capitalise on the best of what both businesses have to offer.

“The extensive network reach and platform capabilities of HealthLink offers Konnect NET even greater opportunity to add value to our SureMed customers.”

About:

HealthLink: The market leading healthcare system integrator in Australia and New Zealand. Nearly all secure clinical communications across the New Zealand healthcare system are carried via HealthLink and it’s the largest provider of secure clinical messaging services in Australia.

Konnect NET: Konnect NET was established in 2008 and its SureMed product is used by major New Zealand insurers to manage health information requests for underwriting and claims. Konnect NET has a growing presence in the Hong Kong market.

For more information please contact:

Maggie McNaughton
HealthLink & Konnect NET publicist
+64 21 613198
[email protected]

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

https://www.pulseitmagazine.com.au/aged-care/5203-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.


 

HealthLink celebrates 25th anniversary

Australasia’s largest health IT network, HealthLink, celebrated its 25th anniversary with an evening celebration at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

More than 150 people – including many of New Zealand’s Who’s Who in health IT – gathered at the iconic building this month to acknowledge HealthLink’s unparalleled contribution to Health IT in New Zealand and Australia.

Guests were officially welcomed to the museum with a powhiri, performed by the museum’s resident traditional Maori performing group, Haka the Legend. The group performed songs and dances and finished with a spine-tingling haka.

Tom Bowden farewelled

The quarter century celebration was also a chance to farewell HealthLink co-founder Tom Bowden, who stepped down from the role of CEO at the end of last year.

HealthLink started up in 1993 when “The HealthLink Service” was launched by a subsidiary of Telecom New Zealand. It began delivering pathology results to 100 general practices.

New HealthLink CEO Michelle Creighton acknowledged Tom’s pioneering spirit, determination and hard work in getting HealthLink off the ground and to the place it is today, as well as the hard work of everyone in the HealthLink team.

In his farewell speech, Tom talked about the importance of unifying the health system.

“It’s been exhilarating… innovation is about hard work… I’ve always viewed a problem as a learning opportunity.”

Tom said he was excited about his new role as an independent consultant.

HealthLink focussed on looking forward

Michelle said the evening was about celebrating HealthLink’s incredible history, but also about looking forward to the next 25 years.

“Twenty-five years doesn’t happen by accident,” she said.

She also acknowledged Irish global healthcare technology specialist Clanwilliam Group, which took a majority shareholding in HealthLink in 2017. Clanwilliam Group CEO Howard Beggs sent a congratulatory message via video link.

Other speakers included NZHIT board chair and director of digital health at Deloitte, Kate Reid, Dr Di Davis, HealthPathways and eReferral clinical leader at Northland DHB and Ministry of Health deputy director-general data and digital, Shayne Hunter, who said, “HealthLink, you’ve done an amazing job. I honestly don’t think New Zealand would be where it is today if we didn’t have HealthLink.”

RNZCGP medical director Richard Medlicott described HealthLink as having been, “a really important glue in the New Zealand health system for a long time”.

Several messages of congratulations were also read out from people unable to attend in person.

Michelle said HealthLink was looking forward to its next chapter.

“It’s about working collaboratively across organisations to improve outcomes for patients. Technology may change, but HealthLink’s goals don’t.”

ENDS

Background information:

HealthLink: A market leading health-system integrator in New Zealand and Australia. Nearly all secure clinical communications used in New Zealand are shared through HealthLink and it’s the largest provider of secure clinical messaging services in Australia.

Clanwilliam Group: Clanwilliam Group is an expanding family of businesses committed to healthcare technology and services. Its rapid growth is due to its unique mergers and acquisitions philosophy and support for entrepreneurial spirit. The group’s companies run from global offices and their products and services help healthcare professionals deliver safe, more efficient and better-quality care to millions of patients worldwide.

For media assistance, contact:

Maggie McNaughton
HealthLink publicist
021 613198
[email protected]

Farewell fax machine: E-Referrals have taken over NZ’s biggest city

The fax machine is almost truly dead in New Zealand’s largest city with almost all patient referrals from primary to secondary care being sent electronically.

Auckland, which has a population of 1.6 million people, is leading the world when it comes to adopting the ground-breaking technology.

The city’s journey to its paperless referral system began in 2012 when Australasia’s largest health IT network, HealthLink, developed CareConnect e-Referrals for the Waitemata, Counties Manukau and Auckland District Health Boards.

HealthLink’s New Zealand national manager, Eric van der Sluis, says e-Referrals improve the transfer of information between primary and secondary care in several crucial ways.

“Fax machines are slow, clunky and unreliable. Faxed referrals can go missing, the patient information is not secure and there’s often incomplete information, which can lead to errors,” Eric says.

The e-Referral system is secure and has been designed from the ground up to protect private healthcare information.

“All clinical information is encrypted and protected with digital certificate-based system authentication.”
Eric says the system is easy to set up.

“For GPs, specialists or allied health workers with a HealthLink-compliant Practice Management System, integration and set up is incredibly simple. It’s even remotely switched on and configured by HealthLink. For other users, the web-based HealthLink Workplace solution can be used to independently send and receive e-Referrals securely.”

GP describes e-Referrals as game changer

Dr Jim Kreichbaum works as a GP at Mt Wellington Family Health Centre in South Auckland, which he established in 1993. He also works part-time at Auckland District Health Board as Primary Care Director Cardiovascular, Adult Medicine, Community and Long-Term Conditions Directorates.

Jim says moving from a paper-based referral system to e-Referrals has been a game changer.

“At the DHB end, the quality of the referrals coming in has increased substantially with more detailed information enabling the specialist to make a better decision about the patient’s care.”

Not only is the quality of patient information better, e-Referrals are more secure than faxed or posted referrals, which often go missing or have incomplete information, he says.

“E-Referrals also mean that patients are more likely to be seen in a timely manner.”
Jim says he can’t highlight enough the advantage of being able to receive specialist advice via the e-referral system.

“As a GP you can message a specialist with questions or advice about a patient and they get back to you the next day, or even the same day. The specialist might even advise you the patient doesn’t need to come in for an appointment.”

He says the ability to get advice from the specialist can save time for both the patient and specialist by avoiding unnecessary appointments.

“It’s so much better for patient care,” he says.

The e-Referral system automatically pre-populates the patient information from the PMS, meaning the GP doesn’t have to fill-in all the information and the risk of mistakes being made or information being left out is reduced.

Once the e-Referral has been sent, the GP gets an instant message saying it’s been received by the DHB. The GP then gets a prompt response as to whether the e-Referral has been accepted or not.

“I would recommend e-Referrals. They are so much better than paper-based referrals on so many counts. It’s a no-brainer to make the switch.”

Transformation of communication between services

Dr Helen Liley agrees. She is a GP in South Auckland, a GP Liaison for Counties Manukau District Health Board, Clinical Director of POAC (Primary Options for Acute Care) and Lead Clinical Editor for Auckland Regional HealthPathways.

E-Referrals, she says, have transformed communication between primary and secondary care. If e-Referrals are available, she doesn’t know why GPs wouldn’t use them.

“E-referrals take two clicks of the mouse and the e-Referral form opens. It automatically fills in information for you from the PMS, it often prompts you for information pertinent to your specific referral and you can pull across clinical notes into a free text box to give extra information so you don’t have to re-write them. They are intuitive and easy to use,” she says.

For Dr Liley, receiving immediate confirmation once the e-Referral has been received is incredibly reassuring.

“I know straight away it’s been received. I can also track the progress of the e-Referral to see where it is in the system.

“In the days of faxed referrals, I was always concerned they would go missing or end up at the wrong address; there was never an immediate acknowledgement that they had been received in the correct place.

“The absolute worst thing is if everybody thinks something is happening for a patient but actually nothing is happening because their referral got lost.”
E-Referrals also have an addendum function, allowing additional notes to be added after it’s been sent, if needed.

“This is really helpful if you’ve forgotten to add something or you get test results or other information in after the e-Referral has been sent. It saves a lot of time,” she says.

To find out more, please visit au.healthlink.net

ENDS

Sydney e-referral pilot opens door to all NSW public hospitals

A group of Sydney GPs are the first in NSW to pilot an e-referral system with Sydney Local Health District.

The pilot initially allows 32 GP clinics to replace old style fax referrals with HealthLink’s SmartForms to refer patients to haematology departments at the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) and Concord Hospital.

 “The e-referral is synchronously delivered into the public health system, meaning no more no lost referrals, no delays due to postage or illegibility or mishandling of the referral in transit. This makes it safer and faster for the patient,” says Jean-Christophe Meunier, eHealth Manager, Hospitals and Health Services at HealthLink.

“This is a very exciting development for not only Sydney Local Health District and its clinicians, but also for Sydney GPs who refer their patients into Sydney’s public hospital system,” says Paul Bennett, Program Manager, HealthPathways,Sydney LHD.

GPs in the pilot group are using a specific e-referral from the HealthLink SmartForms interface that is widely integrated across the popular practice management software (PMS) systems, Best Practice and Medical Director. The integration is totally secure, standardised and professional, offering the pre-population of all relevant patient data from the GP’s PMS, as well as delivering the fastest transfer of care possible.

Practice manager, Penny Mills, of Leichhardt General Practice, has been involved in the pilot from the start, and relishes the prospect of specialists in all hospitals using SmartForms.

She says there are three attributes that make the e-referral platform a winner: ease of use, fast real time processing, and added security, all of which “combines to improve the quality of patient care”. It’s also far less messy than using faxes, she says.

An additional mandatory part of the referral pathway makes it possible for the hospitals to send secure electronic status updates back to GPs to advise that the referral has been either accepted or denied. This dedicated GP to specialist communication channel for each patient referred allows for quicker referral acknowledgement, acceptance and updating.

Ms Mills says: “The very first patient we referred needed palliative care and was rejected by the specialist we referred to. That was a good result because the doctor could immediately look at an alternative pathway for the patient.”

Mr Meunier agrees: “GPs will be relieved that all of this communication can be channelled back into their existing secure messaging-receiving workflows, and then filed into their patient record.”

“SmartForms are easy to implement, and I believe the pilot will pave the way for broader use by GPs here in Sydney, and into other NSW Local Health Districts,” Mr Meunier says.

Mr Bennett says the pilot offers an opportunity to extend the electronic referral pathway to over 200 GP practices and to other Sydney Local Health District outpatient clinics.

“We trust this will be the start of a successful patient transfer process across the district using the professional approach and sheer scale of HealthLink, Australia’s largest Health IT network provider.”

He says the Sydney Local Health District pilot is an example of innovative collaboration including Strata Health’s PRISM Referral Management System that enables a compliant and synchronous communication with HealthLink’s SmartForms and secure messaging system, and Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, which is providing project resources and technical support through its digital health team.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Jean-Christophe Meunier

eHealth Manager, Hospitals and Health Services at HealthLink

M 0437 681 688
P 02 8014 7614
[email protected]

About Sydney Local Health District
Sydney Local Health District is made up of hospitals, health services and a range of associated support services. A leading health district, it provides services in the hospital setting and in the community. The district is located in the centre and inner west of Sydney and is made up of the Local Government Areas of the City of Sydney (western part), Inner West Council, Canterbury-Bankstown (Canterbury part), Canada Bay, Burwood and Strathfield. With around 12,000 staff, the district is responsible for the health and wellbeing of more than 700,000 people living within itsboundaries, rural and remote parts of NSW and Australia and more than one million people who come into the district each day to work, study and visit.

About HealthLink
As the leading Australasian provider for the secure electronic transfer of patient information, HealthLink has been instrumental in eradicating inefficient and unreliable paper-based communication. This has resulted in powerful efficiencies in New Zealand healthcare. In Australia, HealthLink has become the largest provider of clinical messaging services, with more than 10,000 Australian medical organisations connected.

About Strata Health
Strata Health works with healthcare providers through intelligent electronic management of patient transitions into the right care, at the right time. Working with healthcare practitioners, clinicians, IT specialists and administrators, Strata Health pioneered the development of powerful software tools that have revolutionized patient flow, benefiting patients, caregivers and system efficiencies alike.

About Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network
Central and Eastern Sydney PHN’s catchment spans 666.9 km2. The region stretches from Strathfield to Sutherland, as far east as Bondi, and also includes Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. It’s the second largest of the 31 primary health networks across Australia by population, with almost 1.5 million individuals residing in the region. PHNs aim to improve coordination of care to ensure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time.