New technology helps connect doctors and patients directly into Diagnostic Imaging

News / General
By Meaghan Quinn

A new platform will now help make tracking referrals into the DI department at KHSC easier for both patients and primary care providers

A new platform will now help make tracking referrals into the Diagnostic Imaging (DI) department at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) a lot easier for both patients and primary care providers.

Known as the Ocean eReferral Network, this technology allows primary care providers to securely send electronic referrals in real-time while helping keep patients informed on the status of this referral.

“The wonderful thing with this technology is not only does it keep providers informed on the status of the referral but it also updates the patient via email on when the referral has been sent and confirms when they have an appointment created,” says Kelly Hubbard, manager of DI at KHSC. “It’s an effective way of keeping patients informed along every step of their care journey.”

With the Ocean eReferral Network, primary care providers send in an electronic referral on a patients behalf to have them seen in the DI department at KHSC. This is a marked difference from the traditional faxed referral. At the same time the eReferral is sent, an alert also goes to the patients email address and both the patient and referring provider are kept informed electronically.  

If the patient does not have an email address or prefers to not provide one, DI will still book the patient via a phone call and letter confirmation while also keeping track electronically so the primary care provider is kept informed.

For the DI department this work also helps to manage a demanding workload of referrals. As the largest DI department in the South East region, they face the one of the highest volumes of referrals for a clinical area.  

“In addition to streamlining work and keeping patients informed along their care journey, another advantage of this technology is that it may help to cut down on certain types of privacy breaches. When referrals are received via fax it can be difficult at times to read the signature on the referral form and consequently information is sometimes shared with the incorrect provider. With the electronic referrals there is no signature to decipher,” says Hubbard.

An added bonus with the Ocean technology is that DI can customize the messages that are sent back to patients. This means that they can update information on any changes that may be happening at KHSC when the appointment is booked or important information that is needed to know in advance of the appointment, allowing the patient to plan their visit accordingly.

Getting this technology put into place was a big investment of time and teamwork by DI staff and physicians with significant support from the Ocean eReferral team – but its work that DI has no regrets about.

“This is a win-win for our department, primary care providers and, most importantly, our patients,” says Hubbard. “We’ve received positive feedback from our community partners that are already using this platform to connect with us; I would encourage all care providers to get on board with this technology.”

Currently, this platform is only available for primary care offices. Health providers in the South East that offer OHIP funded services and wish to learn more about the Ocean eReferral system and how they can join are welcome to contact Alexander Russell at alexander.russell@lhins.on.ca.