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Call for online GP system to be extended


A NORTH Cork GP has appealed for an online referral system for patients to be connected to at Mallow Hospital.

Mallow based GP David Molony called for the Mallow hospital to follow in the footsteps of the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital's (SIVUH) new initiative. The new online referral system for GP's at the SIVUH substantially cuts delays caused by postage of patient's details.

The online referral system helps reduce the possibility of creating a second record, and the relevant information is available for doctors online.

According to IT specialist at SIVUH, Ronan O'Connell, the new system could be used as a model for other hospitals around the country.

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He explained that part of the reason the hospital decided to update the system was because they were receiving patient referrals to the out patients service in the form of handwritten letters and faxes from GP's. Sometimes the handwritten letters or fax from GP's were generating difficulties due to legibility.

Mr O'Connell maintains that the introduction of the online service was thus primarily aimed at improving accessibility for GPs to hospital services in a clear, safe, and secure format through a special link on the hospital's website. Doctors can access the online service by using individual passwords and codes. Following the initial success of the electronic OPD referrals pilot scheme,it was expanded to include SIVUH's Breast Clinic.

The system proved to be very beneficial for GPs and patients, as well as hospital clerical staff who found the system to be an invaluable aid in avoiding errors and ensuring comprehensive patient care. Since the introduction of the service, some 170 doctors from across Munster have signed up to use it and it is expected that many more will follow suit as the benefits become more widely understood.

Already, eight GP's in North Cork have signed up to the system.

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