Data quality and auditing

At the Royal Oldham Hospital in Manchester, multiple inpatient referral processes were used by different clinical specialties. These often required administrative support to manage incoming referrals. Additionally, there was no adequate means to manage referrals electronically to ensure that referrals were dealt with in a timely manner and included standardised clinical information.
Clinician in a lab coat at a desktop computer

The challenge: clinical information

Due to the lack of referral standardisation, the level of detail and clinical information documented in referrals was highly variable. Benchmarking also showed that telephone discussions between the referee and referrer were often not documented in the patient’s clinical notes.

The solution: electronic referral management tool

In consultation with a team of clinical champions, including senior clinical leaders, consultants, clinical fellows, registrars and nurses, Bleepa was developed as a referral management tool which would standardise not only how referrals were made but also the clinical information needed to effectively process them. 

The goal is to capture the necessary but sufficient details that would be applicable across a range of clinical specialties. However, at the same time not making the referral process overly burdensome and time consuming. With Bleepa, it is possible to tailor question content for individual specialties.

The result is a Bleepa referral management process that aligns with clinical best practice, supports standardisation along the patient pathway, and is auditable, fully open and transparent. All to improve clinical communication.

The referral form in Bleepa allowed us to capture really important clinical information about the patient which, not only is it important to allow us to plan treatment, it also gave the clinicians more information, in one place, at one time, in order to aid them to triage patients’ requirements.”

– Janine Beattie, EPR Clinical Configuration Lead

Conclusion: a fully auditable system

Bleepa is a fully auditable system. Therefore, every referral and outcome is available to review during and following the patient episode.

The standardisation of the Bleepa referral form includes additional clinical information, such as:

  • Co-morbidities
  • Frailty score
  • NEWS score
  • Access to all PACS imaging
  • Reason for referral/clinical question
  • Contact details for the referrer

Auditable messages

100% of all inpatient respiratory referrals can be managed without admin support; freeing time to focus on other tasks.

Response Times

Benchmarking for respiratory inpatient referrals showed that the existing process took on average 2.1 days before the receiving team got to review the referrals.

With the introduction of Bleepa and the removal of the manual administrative steps, referrals are now actioned within 0.4 days. This represents a saving of 1.7 days per referral

Response Times

Benchmarking shows that the process of responding to referrers can take on average 7.5 minutes per referral. The introduction of Bleepa reduces this response time to less than one minute by enabling a receiving doctor to respond using the chat in Bleepa. This results in a clinical time saving of approximately 6.5 minutes per referral.

This equates to 5.6 weeks of a full-time clinician’s time released per annum. This is based on current usage, and a prediction of 36.3 weeks of clinical time per annum released, if the project is expanded to all other medical teams.

Figures based on benefits realisation analysis undertaken by Royal Oldham Hospital.