Ms Georgia Hondrovasilopoulos1
1Nalhn, Elizabeth, Australia
The Northern Adelaide Local Health Network Acute Allied Health (AH) service at the Lyell MCEwin Hospital receives 2000 acute inpatient referrals per month. As higher demands are placed on our hospital systems, allied health referrals have increasingly become more complex, with higher acuity. This has resulted in a change in practice with reduced capacity for lower complexity practice. Clinicians reported receiving high numbers of low value referrals, highlighting the need to educate referrers about AH scope and referral criteria.
As part of a quality initiative, focus groups with key AH referrers were undertaken to understand their perceptions of AH roles in the acute setting and criteria for referral. Key changes were implemented including, revising AH referral criteria, educating referrers and clinicians and implementing ward champions. A two week snapshot Referral Audit was undertaken pre and post intervention to quantify the number of low value referrals received and time used to manage them.
A repeat audit 6 months post intervention highlighted a 4% reduction in low value referrals, releasing a 3 minute time saving for each low value referral. Extrapolated data across 12 months suggests 792 hours could be released back to clinical time through reduced receipt of low value referrals.
To meet the needs of the increasing demand of AH services in inpatient acute settings there are benefits in an ongoing review of referral criteria and education of referrers to ensure AH are providing services that add value to the patients journey. This has considerable implications for releasing clinician time to focus on provision of quality services for high value referrals.
Georgia Hondrovasilopoulos is a senior occupational therapist working within the acute services team with NALHN with experience working with acute inpatient medical clients and outpatients with hand therapy conditions. She holds a program management role within NALHN and has an ongoing interest in the development of efficient Allied Health service delivery models.