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March 23, 2016

West Coast makes 999,999th electronic referral

Two minutes after West Coast District Health Board Rural Hospital Medicine Registrar Adele Pheasant referred a patient using the South Island Electronic Request Management System (ERMS), another doctor hit the big time.

West Coast health professionals are joining South Island colleagues in celebrating the one millionth referral using an electronic system to ensure patients get seen by the right people.

"I actually didn't know I was making the 999,999th referral," Dr Pheasant says. "I've used the ERMS system for a few years now and it's invaluable on the Coast - it's secure, it's so much better than the old paper-based system, and I feel confident that my patients will be followed up by the right people."

Development of the South Island Electronic Request Management System (ERMS) began in Canterbury in 2009. Through collaboration between district health boards, the system was implemented across the entire South Island, effectively enabling referrals across DHB boundaries anywhere in the South Island, and offering a faster, smoother health journey to over a million people.

Using ERMS, general practice teams make a referral or request for specialist advice via an electronic form, which is submitted directly to a secure database. From there, requests are delivered automatically to any one of over 700 South Island community and hospital services, both public and private.

"ERMS is infinitely more efficient than the old paper-based referral system," South Island Information Services Service Level Alliance Chair Andrew Bowers says. "GPs and other referrers can select the most appropriate and convenient specialist provider and will be able to track their referrals, which provides certainty, clarity and transparency across the system.

"It's been really positive witnessing how the five South Island DHBs have worked together to reach this point. We now have one system across the whole region, which means more than a million people now have better access to high quality care when they need it."

Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards Chief Executive David Meates was proud the South Island health system had reached this significant milestone.

"More than a million everyday successes add up to one very significant one. ERMS makes sure a request gets a response, helps protect patient privacy, and cuts waste out of the system but saving everyone's time," Mr Meates says.

A Dunedin GP Dr Jan Cottle made the one millionth referral last Friday.

Ends

Lee Harris,
Senior Communications Advisor
West Coast District Health Board
e: 
t: +64 27 836 1528

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