Ireland’s cancer services have warned of a tsunami of additional cancer cases over the next twenty years. As a result, huge progress needs to be made to improve cancer services nationwide.
At the launch of Ireland’s first national electronic system for GP referral of cancer cases, it was announced that; the national electronic referral project, which supports: breast, lung and prostate cancer, can now be completed electronically. This initiative will greatly improve the efficiency of the referral process, thereby promoting rapid detection of the aforementioned cancers and significantly improving patient care. It is hoped that this will prevent repeat cases of the controversy at Tallaght hospital in 2010, when it was discovered that more than 3,400 GP patient referral letters dating back to 2002 had not been processed.
The GPIT accredited Socrates GP 1.7 software, is leading the way when it comes to supporting electronic cancer referrals, which allows GPs to send referrals from within the patient’s chart in Socrates directly to the hospital, and the results are later integrated back into the system, saving time and more importantly, lives. The new cancer e-Referral feature in Socrates GP 1.7 is fully GPIT accredited and in line with the National Cancer Control Programme / Irish College of General Practitioners e-Referral programme.
Speaking at the official launch of the electronic cancer referrals programme on Friday 27th January 2012, Minister for Health, James O’Reilly said “I want to see this transposed across the entire system so that all referrals in the future will be electronic. Patients will have certainty about their date and the record of their request so that never again will we see a situation like what occurred in Tallaght.”