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eReferrals: why are we still faxing?


Hughes, CA and Allen, P and Bentley, M, eReferrals: why are we still faxing?, Australian Journal of General Practice, 47, (1-2) pp. 51-56. ISSN 2208-7958 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.31128/AFP-07-17-4285


Background and objective: eReferrals have the potential to be a transformative technology in the healthcare space. This study explored attitudes, behaviours and barriers to eReferral use and electronic communication in general.

Method: A survey of doctors and allied health staff was undertaken in north-west Tasmania. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results: The response rate was 57% (n = 204). For 80% (n = 164) of respondents, fax or post was the main method of sending letters to other healthcare professionals, and 72% (n = 147) wanted to increase the number of letters sent and received electronically. Barriers and enablers to eReferral use included peer behaviour, software factors, security issues and workplace culture.

Discussion: Somewhat ironically, the key barrier to eReferral use was peers not using eReferrals. A greater emphasis on software usability and interoperability is required. Despite eReferrals being promoted as the more secure alternative, security remains a key concern. Workplaces could influence adoption by encouraging eReferral use.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:general practice, referrals, e-referrals
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health care administration
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Health policy evaluation
UTAS Author:Hughes, CA (Dr Christopher Hughes)
UTAS Author:Allen, P (Dr Penny Allen)
ID Code:126350
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Rural Clinical School
Deposited On:2018-06-06
Last Modified:2019-03-25

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