Digital consultation in primary and secondary healthcare
Better and more efficient communication between GP and specialist thanks to digital consultation. Easily and securely exchange messages with the healthcare network surrounding patients and prevent a patient referral from becoming unnecessarily long and costly.
More efficient communication between GP and specialist to limit unnecessary referrals
Communication between general practitioners and hospital specialists usually still takes place in the traditional way, via telephone and fax. This often causes the consultation, and possible referral, of a patient to be unnecessarily long and costly. For example, sometimes the GP performs a heart scan. This is sent by fax to the specialist in the hospital. The results are then discussed by telephone. Unfortunately, a specialist is not always directly accessible by phone. This is a time-consuming process. How can we make this more efficient and thus improve the communication between GPs and specialists and limit unnecessary referrals?
Help us to set up a digital module that allows for more efficient contact between GPs and specialists. Provide a secure environment in which healthcare parties can share patient data and other information quickly, safely and in a structured way. Because the healthcare providers no longer have to wait for the other party's response, the consultation process is shortened. It is also expected that the number of referrals will decrease because of this efficient way of consulting.
With the digital consultation module, general practitioners and specialists can share and communicate information in a secure and structured manner that fits in with their schedules.
Our approach and solution
We started working with the clients on the crux of the challenge; improving the administration and communication within the consultation process. For primary care, we have been working with the VIPLive (from Calculus Software) communication tool for quite some time, in which healthcare parties can communicate securely with each other. Our solution to the problem; developing the digital consultation module within the VIPLive web platform. A module with which general practitioners and specialists can share and communicate information securely and in a structured manner that fits in with their schedules. Moreover, the financial settlement of the contact can be arranged immediately.
Impact with IT
The new module caught on. After a successful pilot, we further improved and rolled out the digital consultation module. Eighty-five per cent of consultations were not followed up with a subsequent referral to the same specialism within a month of the consultation. As a result, patients were able to remain under the care of their GP and did not require a referral to hospital. Currently, twelve regions are already using the module. For both healthcare providers and patients, the digitisation of the consultation yields several practical and financial advantages:
For healthcare providers
- Simple and safe exchange of medical information at the desired times.
- Reduction of waiting lists at hospital outpatient clinics.
- Learning effect: low-threshold interaction with specialists increases the level of knowledge of GPs and support staff.
For the patient: Referrals are avoided,
- which means patients do not have to travel to a regional hospital.