E-referral system expands to include MRIs, ultrasounds
December 13, 2023
HALIFAX – More patients in Nova Scotia will see better communication around referrals with the addition of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound tests to the e-referral system. Patients who provide an email address receive automatic notifications when the referral is sent, when an appointment is booked and if the referral is updated. The referring provider also receives the notifications.
This system provides better tracking, review and co-ordination of referrals. Patients still choose where they receive care and receive better information on the status of their referral.
“Transforming healthcare includes improving the tools, systems and processes that healthcare professionals use every day to help care for their patients,” said health and wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “Technology is helping us provide better communication, shorter wait times and overall better, faster care for Nova Scotians.”
Primary care providers have been sending surgical referrals electronically since March. MRIs were added in September and ultrasound e-referrals begin this week.
“This is a very exciting time in diagnostic imaging. An electronic referral system promotes patient-centered care through timely triage, improved communication and equitable access based on patient’s choice and wait times. It sets the foundation for creating efficiencies across the system while also reducing administrative burdens for providers,” said Dr. Judy Rowe (pictured), physician lead, Diagnostic Imaging eReferral Implementation, Nova Scotia Health.
Electronic referrals will, over time, eliminate inconsistent, misdirected or duplicate referrals, helping reduce wait times and improving the information that doctors and patients receive about the status of the referrals.
“More than 10,000 surgical e-referrals have been sent since March. We now have new insight into the number and types of referrals being sent and their status, which is improving our ability to plan, co-ordinate referrals, communicate with patients and providers, and support more timely access to surgical consults,” added Dr. Greg Hirsch, senior medical director, Perioperative (Surgical) Service Network, Nova Scotia Health.
Eventually, all non-emergency surgical, MRI and ultrasound referrals will be processed centrally using this electronic tool. Work is underway to expand the use of this system to allow for e-referrals for computerized tomography (CT) scans.