(Monday July 4th 2016) GPs across the country can now refer patients into every acute hospital electronically following the completion of phase one of the HSE National eReferral Programme. Over 10,550 ereferrals were received in hospitals in May, up significantly from the 2,289 received in August 2015 when the new process was initiated.
Congratulating all those involved and pointing to the benefits for patients, HSE Director General Mr Tony O Brien today said that “this project is allowing for rapid and secure electronic referrals for patients from their GPs to the appropriate Consultant and Hospital. It happens in real time with the GP receiving acknowledgement from the hospital of the referral, while the patient is there with them.”
Speaking at Tallaght Hospital, Mr O Brien stressed that this new process has enabled patient data to be securely communicated between primary and secondary care, meaning the process is streamlined and standardised.
Using the e referral solution, a GP can submit a referral electronically, directly from their practice management system to the hospital in question using the HIQA approved referral form and immediately receive an acknowledgement confirming receipt. The system also enables the hospital to send a response message to the GP once the patient has been triaged.
According to Mr David Slevin, CEO Tallaght Hospital: “This is an example of the many innovations adopted by our hospital where we are focused on providing a better service for our patients. This project illustrates how primary care and acute care can work together to improve the overall service for patients.”
Also acknowledging the significance of today’s milestone, Dr David Hanlon Kildare based GP and Clinical Advisor with the HSE Primary Care Division said “this is a very important development for GPs across the country. We are continually looking to improve services for our patients and this project in particular provides real value and makes a real difference.”
E referral is one of the strategic programmes of the HSE’s Chief Information Office. Mr Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer, HSE concluded: “This is a great achievement for the project, where patients can be referred for care to the acute setting through electronic communication. We are looking forward to the next phases of the project, and want to thank the GP community and the hospital groups for their commitment and energy which has helped us reach this milestone today.”
Minister Harris added, “The delivery of the eReferral project into every acute hospital is a clear demonstration of a change in how the public sector, and in particular health, in Ireland is now able to adopt digital solutions. A successful project like this adds to our confidence in what digital technology can do to provide patient-centred integrated care and make a real difference to the patient experience.
The Minister then went on to announce, “The delivery of eHealth to the doctors and nurses of Ireland is such a positive development and I am pleased to announce that eHealth Ireland will host a two day eHealth showcase in November at the Trinity Science Gallery. This innovation showcase will enable anyone in Ireland to see the work that has already been done in the last 18 months and be part of the future development of technologies that will make real progress for people in their interactions with health services."