Evaluation of the referral management systems (RMS) used by GP practices in Northumberland: a qualitative study

Dew, Rosie and Wilkes, Scott (2019) Evaluation of the referral management systems (RMS) used by GP practices in Northumberland: a qualitative study. BMJ OPEN, 9 (7). ISSN 2044-6055

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Abstract

Objective Exploring the views of stakeholders to the referral management systems (RMS) used by GP practices in Northumberland, UK to evaluate its perceived effectiveness.

Design
This was an in-depth qualitative semi-structured interview study. Participants and setting 32 participants (GPs, hospital consultants, referral support, hospital managers, Clinical Commissioning Group manager) in the North East of England, UK.

Method
Interviews using a grounded theory approach and thematic analysis.

Results
The main benefit of RMS mentioned by participants was that it allowed for unnecessary referrals to be vetted by consultants, and helps ensure patients are sent to the correct clinic. Generally, the consultants in our study felt that RMS did not significantly help them reject referrals. Some GPs experienced that RMS undermined GP autonomy and did not help when they had exhausted their abilities to manage a patient in primary care, and it was suggested that in some cases RMS may delay rather than prevent a referral. The main perceived disadvantage of RMS was the additional workload for GPs and consultants, and RMS was felt to be a barrier to commutation between GPs and consultants. Frustration with the system design and lack of knowledge of its cost effectiveness were articulated.

Conclusion
Although RMS was reported to reduce some unnecessary referrals, the effect of referral delay and rejection is unknown. Although there were some positive attributes described, RMS was mostly received negatively by the stakeholders.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Sciences > Health Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Scott Wilkes
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2019 10:52
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2020 13:47
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/10978
ORCID for Scott Wilkes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2949-7711

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