Helping improve access to surgical consults and reducing the workload for health care providers

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In March 2023, Nova Scotia launched a single-entry intake model for managing and coordinating surgical consult referrals and diagnostic imaging services.

As part of Nova Scotia Health's Surgical Access and Quality Improvement Strategy, IWK Health’s quality improvement plan, and government’s Action for Health Strategic Plan, this model allows referrals to surgeons and the diagnostic imaging teams to be coordinated through a central intake office / centralized waitlist and diagnostic imaging central queue.

It aims to improve access to surgical care and diagnostic imaging services, improve the overall experience for providers and patients and in time, will help reduce wait times across the province.

The use of eReferrals will become mandatory April 1, 2024 for primary care providers and surgeons. Planning is underway for additional specialties and services.

Before you can begin using Ocean eReferrals your clinic or office will first need to set up an Ocean site. Clinics and offices are asked to designate a contact to help set up their site. Please go to the 'For Clinic Contacts' page to get started.

Expected Benefits

For Patients

  1. Improved communication about referral status and what to expect

  2. Continued choice/more informed choice (wait times, etc.)

  3. More equitable access to services

  4. Helps reduce wait times

  5. Timely triage to prioritize care

For Providers

  1. Consistent and complete referrals

  2. Less administrative burden for primary care providers

  3. Ability to refer to Central Intake Office to expedite care

  4. Comprehensive and up-to date Central Intake and surgeon directory (HealthMap)

  5. Continued choice by referrer

  6. Less administrative burden for surgeons and specialists, with appropriate referral information

  7. Helps surgeons build practices, supporting recruitment and retention

For the Health System

  1. Access to data on how many patients are awaiting referrals to help better plan and allocate resources

  2. More consistency and coordination of referrals

  3. Opportunities to better distribute demand across the system

Training & Resources
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For Patients