Auckland Region uses Electronic System to Streamline Referrals and Improve Communication Between Healthcare Providers
The three District Health Boards (DHBs) of the Auckland region – Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata - together serve over 1.5 million people.
Each DHB has particular areas of specialty and population profiles. This, in conjunction with the close proximity of the DHBs means there is a large amount of migration and crossover of patients as they move between providers.
Referrals are a critical component of a patient’s health journey, enabling clinicians to collaborate with other care providers to provide the patient with the right care, within the right timeframe.
The use of faxed and mailed referral letters from GPs, specialists, and community health providers results in referral processes that are non-standardised and can create confusion with high volumes of rework by both primary and secondary care personnel. Paper-based referrals have high administrative costs and reduce the ability to leverage existing online information resources. In the worst case scenarios, they can be misplaced or lost, and could endanger the life of a patient.
Given the high number of referrals between DHBs and health providers across Auckland, there was a need to implement an electronic system that could improve communication and processing time. Moving from a paper-based referral system to one managed electronically, would enable improved patient flow and integrated care.