A new electronic referral system across north and west Auckland should see the end of lost referrals to hospital.
Instead of using paper forms that were time-consuming to fill out and easy to lose, patients in Waitemata District Health Board can now be referred to specialists electronically.
"One of the problems with the old paper system was that no one knew if a referral went missing," Waitemata DHB project lead Dr Lara Hopley says.
"There was no way of seeing how it was tracking through the system or what the result might have been. Some referrals simply got lost and no one knew about it unless the patient brought the situation to their attention."
These issues have been prevented through the eReferral system since referrals can be updated instantly online.
Hospital-based clinicians and GPs can constantly monitor the progress of patients and see their referrals, including whether referrals have been confirmed, plus they can see a patient's referral history.
"That alone means valuable time is not wasted with a patient having to retell their story again and again at each consultation," says Dr Hopley.
eReferrals allow a more effective and comprehensive way of communication between healthcare professionals concerning individual cases.
The success of the eReferrals systems is an example of how digital and online technology has benefited the health sector.