Statewide eReferrals to improve access to care

South Australians will have improved access to quality healthcare and experience reduced wait times for health services thanks to the introduction of a Statewide eReferrals Program that will simplify how referrals to public hospitals are managed across the state.

Once implemented, GPs and other referring doctors will be notified when an electronic referral has been received by a Local Health Network and will no longer need to wait for a confirmation in hard copy via post, which can often result in delays and multiple referrals.

eReferrals will be introduced in several phases from August 2023, with the program to be initially implemented at SA Health’s metropolitan hospitals and the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network.

The new statewide system will enable two-way communication between GPs and outpatient services. The system will also have the capacity to identify duplicate referrals across all LHNs, which currently contribute to longer wait times.

The Statewide eReferrals Program will adopt Standardised Clinical Prioritisation Criteria (CPC), which have been developed to provide consistent and accurate guidance on the information required in a referral that determines the level of clinical need.

CPCs are developed by hospital clinicians, including medical, nursing and allied health staff, and GPs.

Specialty areas including Ear Nose and Throat, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Orthopaedics, Neurology and Vascular, have already had CPCs developed and will be the first to adopt the eReferrals program.

CPCs will be rolled out for all speciality areas over the next three years as criteria is finalised.

The Statewide eReferrals Program will use the existing HealthLink platform that is currently used by SA Health for secure messaging with GPs and Salesforce Platform that is used broadly across the Department of Health and Wellbeing.

Quotesattributable to SA Health Chief Digital Health Officer, Bret Morris

TheeReferrals program will power access to faster and better care for all SouthAustralians. It’s an important example of how a connected health care systemcan improve the patient journey through the health network.

Thework being done to standardise referrals to our hospitals and outpatient serviceswill improve communication between GPs and our LHNs and support them to deliverstreamlined care.

Oncefully implemented the program will connect patients to the healthcare pathwaythat will best meet their care needs.

Quotesattributable to and RACGP SA Faculty Deputy Chair, Dr Melanie Smith

Theintroduction of eReferrals across SA is a key step towards clearer and moreefficient communication between primary care and the state’s public hospitalsystem.

Integrationwith GP medical record software and the use of dynamic forms will ensureconsistency and ease of use with reduced administrative burden for generalpractises already experiencing increased demand.

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