In January 2011, a National Electronic General GP Referral Pilot Project was established to achieve an electronic referral pathway between GPs and seven pilot hospitals. The Cork and Kerry Reconfiguration Team managed the pilot on behalf of the Clinical Programmes and Strategy Directorate (CPSD) Primary Care Programme. The Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (now Tallaght Hospital, Dublin) was included in the pilot, along with the six acute hospitals in Cork and Kerry.
The objective of the project was to put in place an electronic general referral solution that is accessible, transparent, measurable, robust, scalable and ensures its own sustainability. 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 of same. Later phases in the project will also ensure that the GP practice system also received a response message once the patient has been triaged.
A programme to make it possible for all acute hospitals to accept (General) referrals electronically was initiated in Q1 2015. By December 2015, over 50% of all acute hospitals were live, including three complete hospitals groups, namely HSE South/South West, Saolta and the University of Limerick Hospital Group. As of March 2016, there are 41 hospitals live with eReferrals. As of May 2016 all hospitals are now live.
We are now planning the second phase of the programme, and we have recently been challenged by the Minister to form part of a solution for waiting lists. Here is a call we have issued and please let us know if you are interested.