Most of the referrals were handwritten, which often made it difficult to read them, and the different structures and contents of the referrals provided a very discrepant degree of support for physicians providing treatment. At the same time, healthcare providers have to record more and more data from these referrals accurately since recent years, so that specialist clinics’ and hospitals’ IT systems are already prepared to electronically manage referral content.
The eReferral module of the EESZT creates the transmission medium that so far has been missing between the IT system of the physician issuing the referral and the physician performing the examination, ensuring the reliable and safe transfer of the patients’ medical information. In treatment, it is crucially important that the information such as medical history or current health complaints disclosed by the physician performing the examination are understandable and intelligible, electronic transmission of data can eliminate the difficulties and risks associated with paper-based referrals.
The eReferral allows the referring doctor to prepare the patient’s referrals in a standardised form by creating the required sample documents, where the rules of referral are also observed and verified. The physician may take into consideration the previous referrals of the patient.
Referrals issued by the referring physician are recorded in the EESZT and are accessible to the health professionals of the chosen health institution. This allows for planning the treatment before the patient even arrives, making patient data included in the referral readily available in a reliable form and content when the patient shows up, helping the physician begin the relevant diagnostic and therapeutic activities more quickly and in a well-founded manner. When a referral is used, the HIS system of the health care provider institution reports report the referral ID to the Event Catalogue Module at the beginning of the medical encounter, and the Event Catalogue notifies the eReferral Module about the use of the referrals through internal processes.
With the help of the EESZT, the referring doctor and the patient can be notified of the completion of the medical records of the care services used on the basis of the referral. The system allows patients to access their referrals on the Citizen Portal, as well as request notifications about new referrals via their registered Client Gate account.
The system also has a web interface accessible through the sectoral portal, but the service’s full scope of options is only accessible by using the interface of the integrated institutional systems. Considering extraordinary events (for example emergency referrals made during night duty events) when the referring doctor does not have the option to record the referral in the eReferral system, in order to ensure the continuity and security of care, it will be possible to make referrals on paper.