GP feedback critical to Outpatient Reform Program

Preliminary feedback from WA Health on the 2018 Survey

Late in 2018, the System Clinical Support and Innovation (SCSI) Unit – Department of Health, partnered with WA Primary Health Alliance to undertake a survey regarding the experience of GPs when they interact with public hospital outpatient services and the Central Referral Service (CRS).

The survey findings have provided rich feedback from the GP community to advise key areas of concern and pressure points related to interacting with outpatient services. This has been used as a reference point for work in progress and will continue to inform future works as part of the system-led Outpatient Reform Program (OPR).

As projects within OPR are defined and progressed, additional feedback will be sought from primary care to improve the collaborative work between the primary and tertiary arms of the health system.

The purpose of the survey was to determine:

  • Factors that influence a GPs decision to refer to public specialist outpatient service
  • Current level of GP understanding regarding referral management processes, and feedback about the existing referral template
  • Current level of GP understanding regarding the Central Referral Service (CRS) and its functions, and suggestions for desired improvements/enhancement
  • Desired level of feedback and follow-up from outpatient services.

Survey feedback and action:

  • More than 170 GPs responded to the survey
  • Key findings from the survey are being used to inform and focus work under the remit of the OPR).

OPR ultimately aims to improve access to outpatient services for those patients who require specialist care within the public sector.

The program will be delivered in a phased approach. Phase one work underway that relates to feedback provided in the survey includes:

  • Improving system data quality – that will support the system being able to provide more meaningful information sharing with patients and clinicians.
  • Development of a patient application (App) to allow patients to manage their appointment information electronically.
  • Implementation of recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the CRS – including preliminary scoping to understand how CRS can improve electronic communication and referral management.

Phase two work will include developing clear referral criteria for specialties across the system – enhancing information available for GPs at the point of referral. This information will be linked in to HealthPathways where appropriate and developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders from WAPHA, primary care and Health Service Providers.

SCSI would like to convey their sincere thanks to all GPs and referrers who responded to the survey. More detailed feedback from the survey and on the OPR is progressing with the Department of Health Communications team and will be available soon.