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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.
HSE Director General Mr Tony O’Brien said the 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.”
Mr O’Brien said the process has enabled patient data to be securely communicated between primary and secondary care, meaning it is streamlined and standardised.
Using the eReferral solution, a GP can submit a referral electronically from their practice management system to the hospital 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.
Mr David Slevin, CEO at Tallaght Hospital, said it was 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.”
Dr David Hanlon, a Kildare-based GP and clinical advisor with the HSE Primary Care Division, added that it 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.”
Mr Richard Corbridge, HSE Chief Information Officer, said “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”.
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced that eHealth Ireland will host a two-day eHealth showcase in November at the Trinity Science Gallery, Dublin. This innovation showcase will enable people in Ireland to see the work that has been done in the last 18 months.