Since the successful launch of The Referral Management Centre (RMC) in June 2014 over 35,000 referrals have been processed. During this time the RMC has used the knowledge and experience of its staff, real data, patient stories and referring agents’ feedback to inform its development.
A common theme that emerged since launch was that the existing mechanisms of referring children to Children’s Specialist Community Services, namely post and FAX, are no longer acceptable for a whole range of reasons. These very outdated means of referral are inefficient, costly and potentially pose risks in terms of information governance. Filling out a paper form and posting it or faxing is also not always the most accessible or user friendly route for a referrer to take.
With the primary aim of making referrals easier, the RMC embarked on a project to design and implement an online referral system. This system permits the referrer to go to the Trust’s website, open a simple link and complete a very simple referral form. This link also works on mobile devices adding an additional benefit to referrers who may not have immediate access to a workstation.
Utilising the expert knowledge of the team, experiences were shared and these heavily influenced the design phase of the development. At the time of testing and subsequent pilot phases key stakeholders as well as staff worked together. Their experiences and feedback were all used actively in the finalisation of the new system.
The RMC launched the new system on 5th June and noted that 10% of all referrals made to the RMC in the first month had been made using the new system. At the time of launch there had been no formal communication of the development to external stakeholders.
For this reason the RMC believe that the project aim of making referrals easier had been achieved.
The sense of pride did not end there. This development was almost totally driven by and designed by the team itself. Their exceptional knowledge and experiences of what patients, families and referrers find challenging was essential in this development. The team worked collaboratively with staff and external stakeholders in a way that permitted the development of a living system that is open to further development and innovation. The team continue to aspire to develop further and believe this latest system is the first step on the path of many future improvements.