Alberta Health Services (AHS) has implemented the province’s first automated referral system. The new province-wide eReferral system was developed with the assistance of ABJHI and AHS’s Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network (BJH SCN). It is being used to refer patients to specialists for hip and knee replacements, lung cancer and breast cancer.
eReferral simplifies the referral process by standardizing the information required to be submitted with the referral. The system informs the referring physicians of the waiting time to see the specialist before they transmit the referral. It also makes referral status updates available in real time, any time.
eReferral currently reports the time patients can expect to wait before their first assessment in a hip and knee central intake clinic. The reported wait times are current and available for each specialist.
eReferral eliminates errors by standardizing the information required on the electronic form. Missing referral information causes hours of extra work and adds as much as six weeks to the wait to see a specialist. Lost referrals will be a problem of the past as the transmission and exchange of paper are eliminated.
The eReferral system is integrated with Alberta Netcare, a secure and confidential health record database where all patient health information is integrated, stored and made available to authorized health care providers. Only physicians who have adopted Alberta Netcare can use eReferral. AHS is encouraging physicians to give up
paper-based referrals and adopt eReferral and Netcare.