Patients – and the doctors who treat them – in Hillingdon will soon benefit from a safer, more efficient system of referrals to hospital thanks to advanced technology.
The Advice and Guidance Dashboard is an add-on to the NHS e-referral (NHSeRS) system launched in 2014. It functions as a two-way tool, allowing GPs in the Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to communicate online to consultants at the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s two hospitals, at Hillingdon, and at Mount Vernon in Northwood.
The dashboard works by allowing GPs to log queries concerning a patient’s care. This is screened by managers at the Trust and allocated to the appropriate discipline. Consultants and other specialists then respond in a timely way with assistance for the enquirer. All patient data is anonymised before it leaves the GP practice, using a unique reference number instead.
The new tool will also be used to improve referrals by collecting data on the two-way flow of information between GP and speciality team, the number and nature of queries and the GPs using the service the most. Training of all users across the Trust and CCG has begun.
Full, accurate referral information is important for improving patient care, just as inappropriate or unnecessary referral to hospital is a drain on resources, so the dashboard will also help to save money across the local healthcare budget.
Craig Brown, Head of Provider Portfolio, Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP), said “This is a fantastic example of collaboration between NHS, us as the AHSN for north west London and a commercial provider to help drive tangible improvements for the outpatient environment and to benefit patients.”
ICHP developed the Dashboard in partnership with Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is hosted online by Open Vie on a secure platform.