Monday June 13, 2016
As part of my new role in GP Liaison I wanted to personally discover what happens to our referrals once they are sent off into the Ethernet. So I headed up to the Referrals Receipt Centre to see what went on there. I met the 3 hardworking ladies who are kept very busy – Reena, Glenis and Pritika. They were very happy to lead me through the process.
Their job is primarily to enter, sort and distribute the referrals that are sent to the hospital. I see their role as a bit like a post office sorting office. They don’t make any decision around what’s inside the referrals. They have efficient processes in place but they do rely on us to get our end right too. There were a few important points that they asked me to pass on:
- Their role is NOT to schedule any appointments – so please don’t give patients the Referral Receipt Centre number as they don’t have any information on timing of appointments. When they get these calls it takes their time away from doing what they should be doing – processing the referrals. If a patient needs information about the timing of an appointment then their enquiry will be directed to the appropriate place by the hospital switchboard.
- They do not grade referrals. They pass on the referral to the relevant department. The individual departments have their own process for grading ie one specialist may do them all or the role will be rotated.
- If you send an ACC related referral, please include an ACC number. This again saves valuable time.
The number of referrals that are processed by this small office is huge – about 300 a day! As with any system there are always possible improvements in efficiency and there are some projects currently on going looking at ways to streamline the activity. The desire for the whole process to be entirely electronic is there but the technology is lagging behind. I would like to report that there does seem to be a significant drive towards healthcare improvement in many areas of the DHB. Any feedback regarding this would be welcome.