August 2011

eReferrals system being tested

Members of the project team have been in and out from behind closed doors this month as the testing phase commenced. Rumours have been circulating that some have even thought of bringing their sleeping bags in with them as they are in the lab all hours of the day.

Testing has also involved a number of GP users testing the eReferrals system from Medtech and My Practice Patient Management Systems.

GP Information Session

Auckland eReferrals GP Introductory Information Session.

The first phase of the electronic referrals (eReferrals) system is being rolled out from September this year for transmitting public referrals between primary care and the six hospitals in the Auckland region.

There is a great deal of enthusiasm out in the primary care sector around the benefits that the eReferrals system will provide. A common question that has asked by GPs and PHOs is “when can we have it?”

There is a general feeling that the forms will be relatively easy to use from a technical perspective but that GPs would appreciate an opportunity to discuss what is required from the forms at a clinical level.

To preview the eReferrals forms and discuss with the project’s clinical panel GPs are invited to attend an eReferrals information evening on Tuesday the 30th of August from 6.30pm at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, 12-16 Nicholls Lane, Parnell.

Introduction to eReferrals has been endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and has been approved for up to 1.5 Hours CME for General Practice Educational Programme Stage 2 (GPEP2) and Maintenance of Professional Standards (MOPS) purposes.

The clinical panel is composed of hospital clinicians and GPs which advised the project will be available to discuss the content of the forms and the clinical data which will be required of GPs through the new system.

Light refreshments will be provided. RSVPs required and can be emailed to

How to measure an eReferral

To fully measure the benefits of eReferrals the project team has created a short online survey to assess how long it currently takes to create and process a printed referral.

GPs can complete the survey online by clicking the link below.

PHO Pow Wow

This month representatives from all the PHOs and their trainers attended a meeting to kick off the deployment and training planning. The training for eReferrals will be delivered to GPs through their PHOs and training videos and material will also be available on the project website PHO trainers will be trained on the 18th of August.

Get Ready, get set and go! eReferrals Roll out.

The roll out of the eReferrals system will be staggered, with groups of approximately 60 practices being switched on at a time. At the PHO meeting, a schedule of practice groups was provided. Once confirmed this schedule will be available on the project website or from your PHO. A higher level timeline is outlined below:

  • System Integration Testing 
    Completed August
  • User Acceptance Testing (GPs/CROs)
    Completed August
  • Pilot (3 practices)
    Commences late August
  • All Practices confirmed as technically ready
    From September
  • Rollout/Go Live commences
    Commences September

A letter has also been sent to every practice outlining what upgrades are required to their systems in preparation for eReferrals. Here is a brief outline on what will be done for or needs to be completed by Medtech and My Practice users.

Medtech sites to:

  • Upgrade EMR Systems to Medtech 32 v19.10:
    All sites need to be operating on version 19.10 prior to loading the HISO Special Release which will enable eReferrals. This upgrade should be completed by 31 August through your normal upgrade process.
  • Update to HealthLink HMS Client: This is an auto-update that will be applied by HealthLink prior to rollout.
  • Update your EMR Systems with the HISO Interface: An update to Medtech 32 v19.10 is required to support the HISO Interface and CareConnect eReferrals. Practices will be advised when the ‘HISO Special Release’ is available to be downloaded from the Medtech website.

My Practice sites:

  • Update to HealthLink HMS Client: - will auto update to new release (No action required).
  • Update your EMR Systems with the HISO Interface: An update to MyPractice is required to support the HISO Interface and CareConnect eReferrals. Practices will be notified when this update has been released. Once released My Practice sites will automatically be updated the next time they restart their systems.

Healthlink will contact each practice ahead of the scheduled go live date in the rollout phase to check that each site is ready.

DHB Central Referrals Offices preparing to process eReferrals.

As well as the work being completed out in the primary sector this month, the leaders of the central referral offices of each DHB have been working on revising their processes to incorporate eReferrals into their workflow while continuing to manage faxed referrals until all practices are using eReferrals.

These process changes will be a work in progress which the teams will modify throughout the different phases of eReferrals and will ultimately improve the flow of referrals throughout the Auckland region.