HealthLink’s GP-specialist e-referral system has gone live in Canada.
The system enables GPs to send referrals to private specialists. It has been rolled out at four medical practices in Kelowna, British Colombia.
“Following the successful trial in Kelowna, we hope to implement the system right across Canada as swiftly as we can,” says HealthLink Canada business development manager Mark Douglas.
“There is a significant demand for this kind of service, and we’ve had a lot of encouragement from medical practices, provincial health authorities and other interested parties.”
The e-referral rollout is a collaborative project that is led by HealthLink and which involves two prominent British Colombia-based electronic medical record (EMR) system vendors, Osier Systems and Optimed Technologies.
Douglas says several other EMR vendors are likely to join the project once the pilot phase has been completed.
Denis Protti, professor emeritus at the University of Victoria, in Ontario, Canada, says New Zealand is advanced in its healthcare connectivity. “Along with Denmark, it is one of the two most health-connected countries. Other countries have regions with a high degree of healthcare connectivity but these are whole countries.
“They have similar stories as to why they’ve succeeded. One reason is a very heavy devotion to standards, and the good fortune of having a mechanism to stimulate change. In New Zealand, it was the government issuing a dictum that primary care would be done differently by requiring physicians to work in group practices with a minimum number of doctors. There was a heavy stimulus to begin introducing electronic records because of the economies of scale,” Protti says.