The aim of the ‘One stop’ (Ett Stopp) electronic referral system is to save patients who need operations for gallstones, sinus pilonoidalis or hernias from having to go via the outpatient clinic. Through direct referrals, patients are now spared several months of waiting. The University Hospital of Northern Norway (UNN HF) receives very many referrals.
The University Hospital of Northern Norway (UNN HF) receives very many referrals. This results in long waiting times for both examinations and treatment. The ‘One stop’ project makes it possible for GPs to refer patients directly to the gastro surgery clinic, where it is believed that the new system could reduce patient waiting times by several months. GPs are invited to test the user friendliness of the trial project.
‘One stop’ was developed by hospital experts in cooperation with Langnes medical centre in Tromsø, DIPS ASA and Profdoc. Bernt Stueland, the medical practice coordinator at UNN and a doctor at Langnes medical centre, has been adviser for the GPs in the project.
In Troms county, more than 200 GPs are now using the patient records system Winmed, 130 of whom have the ‘One stop’ software installed. Soon, doctors will receive a letter containing information about the project and a request to participate in the trial project. UNN wishes to test the system’s user friendliness and find out whether it can contribute to the desired quality assurance of waiting lists.
The software consists of:
1. A guide and clinical decision support for making diagnoses
2. Information to patients about the operation in question
3. Referral module (which is part of DIPS Interactor)
4. The appointment/ booking module (also from DIPS).
In order to access the software in Winmed, users must use ‘The good referral’ and enter the correct diagnosis code. The software starts automatically and a guide is displayed on the screen. The doctor must then fill in a form with additional information, which will be added to the referral. The form has been prepared by doctors at UNN, and the aim is to ensure that necessary information is included.
The ‘One stop’ programme can be extended to include referrals for several conditions clarified by a GP, and several other UNN clinics have registered interest. The software can be used for direct referral to outpatient surgery and to refer patients to the correct course of treatment at an earlier stage. It is also possible to develop decision support for the GP, in order to quality assure referrals.
Initially, the project is designed as a research project in which UNN wishes to investigate how much waiting times can be reduced. They also want to map user satisfaction to find ways of improving the system. UNN will also conduct a questionnaire survey among GPs after the project period is over.