Significant numbers of patients are referred directly to hospitals under the care of consulting physicians for urgent admittance by GPS, Walk-in Centre, and other hospitals. These emergency or urgent referrals often bypass A&E and go directly to the accepting ward. The patients are greeted by other members of the team for example the nurses and the doctors. At this point, problems are faced at all levels due to insufficient or the lack of information and handover. At the operational level patients turns up onto the ward unexpectedly by the receiving junior doctors and nurses. The information that is handed over to the doctor or nurse by the patient is often:
With these emergency referrals, there is often a problem for the receiving team to build up an accurate picture of the patient’s presenting problem and their social circumstances. Sometimes the patient is unable to answer questions about their presenting problems and the care they receive before admission to the hospital. This can lead to:
The E-referral application will be the first to the Healthcare market that will deal with referral information in real-time across sectors and within the Hospitals.
An area where letters and reports are generated electronically using current details of that referral and search features to search for information that is stored in healthcare records/databases. To generate the letter the user must first identify the patient that needs referring. In the community, patients are identified using the NHS Number, and in the hospital, the patient is identified using the Hospital Number. Once the patient is identified, the patient demographic information, medical history, and current medications which are already stored in healthcare record databases are displayed. Information that is needed to complete the referral letter is the current information, these are as follows:
An alert mechanism that alerts the receiving team that the referral details are waiting to be viewed with the referralidentification number (Referral ID). Once the message is received, an area where the receiver can locate, view, and accept the information. The intention is that when the receiver accepts the referral the E-Referral system can then upload the information into the receiver’s information system where it can be reused.
The features of the system include:
The purpose of the E-Referral system is to have a communication and alert system that will enable the clinicians in the community to communicate with the clinicians at the acute hospitals and vice versa. The intended purpose is to have a system that supports the admission and discharge process for emergency or urgent referrals into and out of acute hospitals.
An electronic referral system tailored for hospitals is a complete solution for the acute care sector. The E-referral application links the patient information from the community to the hospital. The objective is to have one application that can be used by the clinicians in the community, which will support and ease communication with acute hospitals. The system will be web-based and require that users access the application using their medical information network username and password. The system will allow clinicians in the community to enter new referrals by generating a letter with patient details and sending it directly to the acute hospital. This will notify acute hospitals of urgent or emergency referrals, accept referrals into a paperless environment, alert acute hospitals that paperless referrals are ready to be viewed. The user can search for a specific piece of information relating to a patient without having to scroll through different pages.
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