The Tasmanian eReferral project trial

Research conducted by Primary Health Tasmania identified three opportunities for improvement in Tasmania’s health system. They are:

  • preventable hospitalisation and disease
  • the absence or low awareness of referral pathways for care across Tasmania
  • a lack of standard tools to allow providers to communicate with each other electronically.

Fortunately, Tasmania already has some tools in place across the state to identify referral pathways (Tasmania HealthPathways and the Tasmanian Outpatients website), find the address information of providers (Tasmanian Health Directory) and send secure messages (currently HealthLink).  While these tools are powerful, they are largely disconnected from each other, and rely on linkages being created in individual practice provider directories.

With that in mind, Primary Health Tasmania announced in early April 2019 that digital health innovators HealthLink and HealthCare Software had been chosen to help Tasmania’s health sector take its first steps towards a streamlined, statewide electronic referral system.

Ultimately, the new integrated eReferral system will provide access to centralised templates and addressing information in addition to connecting existing GP clinical software packages, outpatient website information, HealthPathways, and web-based hospital eReferral management portals, allowing for secure, electronic referral communication across primary care to hospitals across Tasmania.

This project aims to coordinate the development of a minimum viable product (MVP) eReferral system to the ‘hospital door’, test the conceptual benefits and usability of the solution and deliver outputs to support consideration of next steps for the Tasmanian Health Service  and wider roll out of the solution in primary care.

It is expected the development of the solution will be complete by 30 June 2019, with the trial of the system able to commence in July 2019.

The trial will provide an opportunity to test the system from a technical, usability and outcome perspective, and will run for approximately for six months with selected general practices, private primary care providers and two outpatient departments (the cardiology department at Royal Hobart Hospital and renal department at Launceston General Hospital).