The pilot was conducted with four practices in four boroughs (Barnet, Camden, Enfield and Haringey), with the following results:
- use of the code "Referral for further care" was reduced from 470 uses per month to 115; a 75.5% decrease, meaning on average only 3.47% of codes at these practices were referral for further care, down from 15.2%
- 250 codes changed from “Referral to further care” to codes specified within the protocol
- use of intended codes per referral showed an overall increase in most referral groups (e.g. the cardiology recommended code went up from 12.5% to 25.3%).
User feedback included:
- the new protocol system was given a 4.67/5 average rating, with 89% of users finding it easier to follow than their previous referral process
- 78% of respondents recorded an average time saving of between one to five minutes per referral
- all respondents recommended the continual use of the protocol in their practice.
One user said:
“The new NCL referral template is a clear and well-structured letter with a clearly laid out format that can be quickly accessed via F12 protocols in EMIS. This allows referral triages and specialists to find all the information needed to assess and manage patients with less risk of missing information and bounce backs to surgeries. The improved coding allows a more enriched data set of referral patterns to specialities and community services. This data can be used for training and education and comparators to neighbouring practices/primary care networks (PCNs). I enthusiastically endorse its adoption further across NCL practices”.
Another user said:
"As a clinician, I find launching from F12, the already titled referral form and the subsequent PN that pops up helpful, faster and more efficient that the previous method. It supports clinical safety in that the pop up PN reduces the chance of a clinician writing a referral and forgetting to arrange for it to be sent”.