For out-of-hospital care, self-referral is a valuable option to reduce burden on GPs and improve access to services. There is also a timely significance as GPs start to see rising volumes of patients who have been avoiding healthcare during the pandemic.
We have been extending the functionality for our automated self-referral pathway and there are a few things that have surprised me as we advance on this journey (health warning: not a clinical perspective!)
Firstly, I have been surprised at how little information I can find about what makes self-referral successful. Given evidence (in MSK) for self-referral leading to improved outcomes and shorter waiting times you would think there would be more guidance/research on how to do it well.
Secondly, the number of services that are still only accepting self-referrals over the phone. This cannot be the best use of our precious NHS workforce when a range of online/technological options are available and can be easily deployed (shout out to ART self-referral 😉)
Finally, I am surprised at the limited testing of self-referral in new areas. Surely, we now have the resources (clinical standards and assessment tools) and the technology to guide patients through a simple online process to allow them to self-refer to many more community services. If so, we’d love to hear from you.
Caris Marsh, CEO
About ART self-referral
ART self-referral portal contains a series of configurable
online forms that connect directly with the ART rules engine, allowing patient
referrals to be captured and processed automatically.
Early proof of concept shows significant cost savings (reducing the manual
work by as much as 95% per referral) and improvement for patient experience and
(via tailored communication and support) and patient care (faster direction to appropriate service).
Contact us for a demo or to find out more
References: https://www.guidelinesinpractice.co.uk/musculoskeletal-and-joints-/patient-self-referral-for-physiotherapy-improves-outcomes/338573.article, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031940606000812