Next Article in Journal
BALANCE Dietary Index in Patients with Heart Failure, and Its Adherence in Sergipe, Brazil
Previous Article in Journal
Assessment of Knowledge about Traditional Medicine Reveals Overuse as a Potential Risk for Aggravating COVID-19 and Underlying Diseases in Geriatrics and Women’s Health in the Saudi Population
Article

Strengthening Saudi Arabia’s Primary Health Care through an e-Referral System: A Case Study

1
Ministry of Health, Prince Nayef Street, Northern Abhor, Jeddah 23816, Saudi Arabia
2
International Research Collaborative- Oral Health and Equity, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands 6009, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anna Capasso
Clin. Pract. 2022, 12(3), 374-382; https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12030042
Received: 9 April 2022 / Revised: 17 May 2022 / Accepted: 20 May 2022 / Published: 24 May 2022
Health systems are becoming more complex, regulatory bodies are increasing their vigilance, and reimbursement practices are shifting toward value, making closing the referral loop an imperative for patient safety, regulatory oversight, and financial viability. The aim of this study was to examine the referral pattern in PHC services and whether a significant variation exists among them based on geographic accessibility to a referred hospital. This was a cross-sectional retrospective study that included all sequentially referred patients between 1 January 2019 and 30 December 2021. A pre-initiative comparison could not be performed, as previous data on the traditional referral system could not be collected. The primary outcome measures considered in this study were the referral rate, and the proportion of the documented appointment date. The healthcare facilities’ geographic locations and data of the hospital departments to which the patients were referred were also available. Between 2019 and 2021, the hospital received 52,143 referrals from the 9 designated PHC centres covering 34 districts. In the PHC centres located within the ≤13 km zone, 1 in every 14 patients were referred to the hospital, whereas 1 in every 20 patients visited PHC centres outside this zone. Since the introduction of the Ehalati e-referral system, the number of documented appointment schedules of the referred patients has improved over time by 16.1% (from 79.6% to 95.7%, p < 0.001). Ophthalmologic (17.1%) and dental services (15.4%) received the most referrals among all other specialties, whereas the referral rate for cardiology services was the lowest (2.5%). The documented appointment scheduling record of referred patients has improved significantly since the introduction of the Ehalati e-referral system. However, the results of this study indicate that the proximity of PHC centres to specialised hospitals is more likely associated with higher referral and documented appointment scheduling rates. Strategies that improve scheduling, decrease variation among clinics, and improve patient access will likely improve the closing rates of the referral loop. View Full-Text
Keywords: primary health care; Ehalati; documented appointment scheduling rates; e-referrals; Saudi Arabia primary health care; Ehalati; documented appointment scheduling rates; e-referrals; Saudi Arabia
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Alabbasi, K.H.; Kruger, E.; Tennant, M. Strengthening Saudi Arabia’s Primary Health Care through an e-Referral System: A Case Study. Clin. Pract. 2022, 12, 374-382. https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12030042

AMA Style

Alabbasi KH, Kruger E, Tennant M. Strengthening Saudi Arabia’s Primary Health Care through an e-Referral System: A Case Study. Clinics and Practice. 2022; 12(3):374-382. https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12030042

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alabbasi, Khalid H., Estie Kruger, and Marc Tennant. 2022. "Strengthening Saudi Arabia’s Primary Health Care through an e-Referral System: A Case Study" Clinics and Practice 12, no. 3: 374-382. https://doi.org/10.3390/clinpract12030042

Find Other Styles

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop