Hospital Network On-call Referral Service (NORSe)

What is NORSe?

NORSe is a secure electronic form based referral solution which allows Trusts to refer patients (often emergency conditions to specialised Trusts or Centres of Excellence).
The receiver can either advise on, accept or reject the referral, and provide a Management Plan. A major benefit of the Intouch Network On-Call Referral Service (NORSe) solution is that all actions are auditable and a full two-way ongoing dialogue is established.

What issues does the solution address?

In many Trusts the process for managing referral is labour intensive with information recorded on paper, email or via the phone. Typically, a Clinician from the non-specialised Trust places a call into an On Call Clinician at the specialised Trust.

This has led to the following potential issue

  • Often not enough detail was gathered.
  • The detail was written down and was often illegible.
  • The detail was occasionally lost due to it being paper based.
  • There was often no audit trail regarding the referral due to the factors above.
  • Made it difficult to manage continuity of care where the referral was passed onto another clinician.
  • Long waits “on hold” whilst busy on-call clinicians are tracked down and find the time to take referral call.

The current processes have caused issues due to the lack of a clear audit trail. We have evidence of referring Trust’s regarding alleged referrals that had been made but not actioned. As there were no audit trails to support this challenge, significant fines were imposed.

Key Benefits of Intouch Network On-Call Referral Service (NORSe)

  • This would be a quicker more detailed and safer way of referring a patient with instant email and text notifications.
  • There would be a clear audit trail to support both the referring and receiving Trust.
  • It offers the potential for be budgetary benefits around the number of referrals a Trust is paid for each year.
  • Reduces risk of litigation.
  • There would be a clearer line of communication between Trusts regarding their patients and even regarding the repatriation of the patients.
  • NORSe is only available on the N3 network to ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability.
  • Eliminates lengthy telephone waits and delays for referring doctors.

Case Study – University Hospital Birmingham

UHB has been using NORSe for emergency Neurosurgery referrals for over 5 years, and has enjoyed huge benefits around efficiency and patient safety.
Graham Flint, Lead Consultant for Neurosurgery, who played a leading role in the development of NORSe explains: “Emergency referrals make up a very large part of neurological practice – at least 50 per cent. Many of these referrals are for critically ill patients and colleagues in referring hospitals need to get neurosurgical advice promptly. NORSe has significantly increased the speed of diagnosis and management of patients, and has brought real benefits for our unit. I would be very keen to share those benefits with other Trusts.”
The solution has been enhanced and adapted to support a number of other specialities including Renal, Burns and Liver.

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