This was an innovation project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.
Demand for specialist outpatient services at Alfred Health is increasing.
Incomplete and inappropriate referrals to specialist clinics can contribute to large wait lists and increase the waiting time for patients attending their first appointment. This delay in service can potentially result in negative health outcomes for patients.
Traditional work roles in specialist clinics can also contribute to increased wait times. Workforce innovation through the development of new service models, such as the use of nurse-led and multidisciplinary clinics, could support the delivery of specialist clinic services and provide alternative care options for people traditionally managed by medical specialists.
In a two-pronged approach to increase capacity and manage clinic demand, Alfred Health launched an electronic referral management system to improve the quality of referrals and developed a new model of care to address the needs of patients waiting to see a specialist.
- Provide timely access to outpatient services, with the right referrals accepted and seen by the right clinician at the right time and in the right location
- Facilitate collaboration between clinics and other areas of Alfred Health, as well as with local primary and community providers, to ensure coordination of care
- Provide patients with a seamless, coordinated experience
- Ensure patients are actively involved in their healthcare
- Improved the quality of electronic referrals, achieving a 0 per cent rejection rate
- Reduced the wait time for patients of two specialist clinics
- Reduced the number of new additions to the routine outpatient wait list for three specialist clinics
- Improved GP satisfaction with outpatient clinic communication by introducing the eReferral systemProvided more patients with early access to treatment through the new active management model of care, engaging them in their own healthcare
June 2018 – Alfred Health is rolling out the eReferral system across its 50 highest referring general practices and expanding the number of specialist clinic-specific referral forms.