A presentation was made to the British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons meeting in London concerning the development of a Tele-referral system for burn injuries.
Pilot of an online burns referral system – by: Dr VE Ormston, Mrs C Reade, Mr R Hollingsworth, Mr KW Dunn
Introduction: An online burns referral system has been designed and produced on behalf of NHS England and the burn care Clinical Reference Group. It is being piloted in Greater Manchester with the intention of being rolled out nationally. Referrals are submitted online by the referrer using an NHS Net web link the only requirement being the need to submit an NHS e-mail address. Clinical photographs and x-ray images can be attached to the electronic referral.
Material and Methods: The online burns referral system was developed with the software consultancy MDSAS (Medical Data Solutions and Services). It is being piloted within the Greater Manchester region to replace the current system of faxed referrals.
Key results: The benefits of the new referral system include no requirement for pre-registration of the referrer, it avoids losing faxed referrals thus improving patient safety, confidentiality and security of information. There is improved referral information provided which is clear and typed and imaging sent with the referral will facilitate decision making particularly the need to transfer out of area. Login to the system can occur from any NHS computer and an auditable trail of the referral process is retained.
Conclusion: An online system for the referral of burns patients is being piloted. The system allows electronic referrals with clinical images to be sent by the referrer, without requiring registration of the referrer. The technique is applicable to other specialties where the review of imaging would be of benefit during the referral process.