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Healthcare gets e-Referrals gateway

 

As the Government’s NHS eReferrals initiative continues to gather pace with the aim of streamlining

patient handovers from primary to secondary care, while providing clearer traceability of progress along

the clinical pathway, SynApps Solutions (www.synapps-solutions.com) launches its new e-Referrals

Gateway solution  (www.synapps-solutions.com/e-referrals-gateway) for NHS Acute hospitals.

Developed in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, the solution allows e-Referrals content to be stored and accessed digitally alongside electronic patient records – addressing the inefficient practice of e-Referrals being printed out and circulated manually within hospitals.  Crucially, secondary care providers can connect this to their existing patient administration or clinical systems, whatever the underlying repository – whether Alfresco, Documentum, etc.

The SynApps e-Referrals Gateway, which was tested in a successful proof-of-concept project at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and is set to be rolled out to other UK trusts, bridges a gap in NHS Digital’s electronic referrals initiative.  Usually, when e-Referrals come into Acute hospitals via the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS), the content is printed out before being passed to the relevant consultant.

“The NHS e-RS is really just a user interface through which hospitals retrieve electronic referrals,” explains Jason Scholes, CTO and co-founder of SynApps.  “Unless this is integrated with everyday hospital systems, the digital benefits stop at the hospital threshold.  And, once the content is transferred onto paper, it carries the same risks of the notes going astray, or not being readily accessible, as have traditionally been the case with written or faxed referrals.”

SynApps’ e-Referrals Gateway provides the means for e-Referrals content to be captured and stored alongside electronic patient records, or other existing clinical systems (for instance those holding medical imaging records). The idea is to give clinicians seamless and concurrent access to everything they need, on demand, as part of a broader workflow.  Unlike other solutions in the market, it doesn’t ‘screen scape’ the referral notes, but captures them natively using the NHS’s native e-RS application interface (API).  This enables richer information to be captured, and supports rapid search.

“We are very ambitious in our vision and are now in the top quartile among NHS Trusts for advanced digital operations.  With SynApps’ support we’re storming ahead, and we’re keen to help light the way for others who want to learn more about what we’ve done,” says Liam Kennedy, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals.

“We’re excited about the potential of the e-Referrals Gateway,” adds Scholes.  “Existing NHS e-Referrals handling is at odds with Trusts’ paperless strategies.  It is also critical that Acute Trusts can handle referrals reliably and effectively, with good traceability – so that they get paid for their work and cover their fixed costs.  With this new solution, devised with proactive input from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, we’re bridging that gap.”

To optimize the solution, SynApps partnered with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, a valued customer and digital trailblazer.  “It was important that we got this right - and what better partner than Sandwell - a visionary Trust and a very knowledgeable customer of ours.  Sandwell has eliminated paper from its sites in recent years and embraced electronic patient records, seized the opportunity to automatically upload referrals to its EPR system, so that consultants can triage them directly and move them to clinics.”

Word of the latest SynApps/Sandwell collaboration has already reached neighbouring hospitals, generating a lot of interest, and a major London hospital is among the latest to implement the solution.