From paper to paperless
“The old system was the usual cumbersome process, reliant on fax machines, hard copy and phone calls,” Mr Barnes says. “This presented challenges in terms of eligibility and inefficiencies in the hard copy environment, not to mention privacy risks.”
Replacing this traditional, ineffective paper referral system with an entirely paperless process has greatly improved the healthcare service’s workflow, by creating a central repository where documents are contained and stored. Importantly, it adheres to Australian privacy laws.
“We can have multiple people using the information in a really timely manner, which has cut down inefficiencies that were inherent in our systems. It’s an advantage for my staff, clinical staff, GPs and the provisioning medical officers, of which we have more than a thousand,” Mr Barnes says.
Besides greater efficiency and improved patient care, the program has also seen a reduction in costs for health practitioners using the system.
“You’re able to move toward a paperless environment, which brings cost savings as well as other advantages. It’s such a good innovation,” Mr Barnes says. “It’s well worth taking up the option of Secure Messaging.”
Benefits for patients and health practitioners
According to Mr Barnes, implementing the Secure Messaging system has enhanced communication across the service, knowledge sharing, accuracy of patient identification and appropriate service allocation, while minimising privacy risks.
“All of these improvements add value and benefit for the patient and ensures they have the best possible experience when they visit Cabrini or any other health service along the line,” he says. “Most patients want to know their information is available to the health professionals who need it, in a timely manner.”
“GPs associated with Cabrini can sometimes feel a little left out of the loop because our major customers are Visiting Medical Officers (VMOs). This system gives them another way of contacting Cabrini so that we can bring them a little bit more into the fold,” Mr Barnes says.
Technology you can trust
“As far as the risks associated with electronic storage of information, we've been working collaboratively with Argus and Telstra Health for about five years now. Having the right vendor that you are happy and comfortable working with mitigates the risks. You obviously must have the right technology driving it, so you’re also comfortable the software and systems do what they’re supposed to do,” Mr Barnes says.
“It’s an excellent system with a lot of capacity for referral sources and our health care providers. Most importantly, it improves the experience for our patients, who are our primary concern.”