The ALERT® REFERRAL solution, which is totally implemented in Portugal through the Portuguese Ministry for Health's "On Time Appointment" project, will issue over 1 million referrals in 2010. This means an exponential growth in referral since the start of the project back in 2006.
The project started with eight pilot hospitals in 2006: S. João Hospital, Santo António General Hospital, Coimbra Children's Hospital, Santarém District Hospital, Litoral Alentejano Hospital, Baixo Alentejo Hospital Complex, Faro District Hospital and Barlavento Algarvio Hospital Complex. Nowadays, the project involves 98 fully working hospitals and 2 376 primary care centers, which also includes family healthcare units and primary care center subdivisions.
Following the total implementation of the project, the system now has 26 890 registered active users. This success is due to the strong emphasis given to training.
As procedures have been simplified, the number of referrals has seen an exponential growth: 174 referrals in 2006, 110 376 in 2007, 498 025 in 2008, 700 685 in 2009 and 237 036 referrals as of March 31, 2010. It is estimated that over 1 million referrals will be issued until the end of 2010, which will total over 2.3 million referrals since the application went live.
The project involved the development and implementation of around 450 interfaces with the different healthcare units' systems. The main functionalities available are the transfer of clinical information from the Primary Healthcare Information Systems, including data transfer from ALERT® CARE to ALERT® REFERRAL, and patient match in the Hospital Patients Management Systems. Besides that, there is an interface with the Portuguese patient registry that enables the single centralization and identification of patients at a national level.
Until the end of the current year ALERT will enable the referral of diagnostic tests by primary healthcare units and hospitals, which involves the participation of private facilities via a portal.
ALERT® REFERRAL v2.4.3 was successfully upgraded to v2.5, which makes it possible to issue intra- and inter-hospital referrals, external entity referrals ("At the Hospital Door") and to issue referrals from the hospital to the primary care center.
About ALERT® REFERRAL
The ALERT® REFERRAL system enables the simplification of procedures as it adds clinical information to the referral, generates referrals based on clinical criteria and informs the citizen on waiting times.
About the "On Time Appointment" project
The "On Time Appointment" project was developed by the Portuguese Ministry for Health in the scope of the Administrative and Legislative Simplification program (Simplex) with the purpose of improving access to hospital referrals via primary healthcare units.