The first step of a patient’s hospital journey is with a referral. Often it’s not a straightforward beginning. The clear lines of communication between GPs and hospitals are frequently blurred and the manual paper-based workflow is time consuming and error prone.
As part of our work on referral management we speak to a range of health services across the referral process. The majority of cases do not clearly answer necessary questions: Has the GP sent the right referral form? Is there enough information for a clinically valid and relevant referral? When the GP does their part, is the hospital able to contact them or provide feedback?
The hospital usually has so much outpatient demand that the only communication to the GP relates to incomplete or rejected referrals.
There are a number of referral programs that do provide inroads into referral security – such as those used by Medicare Locals among others. These groups often have electronic referral templates available for GP’s to download. This means the GP can generate a referral directly from their desktop practice management software. Unfortunately the referrer can’t always send this via a secure message. In the majority of cases the hospital just prints the form and processes it via a paper based workflow. Hospitals often have no other mechanism for referral management apart from manual workflows with paper. This undermines part of the efficiency gained in the first electronic steps of the referral process. It also means that communication back to the referrer is often manual and paper based.
Verdi solves these and other workflow inefficiencies by integrating V-Referral with DCA Argus secure messaging. This capability will expand to other secure messaging providers in the very near future. For GPs and other referrers this means electronic templates can be sent directly to V-Referral within a hospital or group.
Today, many outpatient departments still rely on faxed communication whilst many external referrers have moved to secure messaging via a range of providers. The functionality provided by V-Referral allows the hospital to communicate via secure message. With V-Referral, outpatients’ staff can acknowledge the receipt of a referral, query a referral and send any templated correspondence by secure message (through the provider of their choice).
This reduces the risk associated with lost referrals and enhances communication making the referral process more secure and time efficient.