Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust has partnered up with Inhealthcare to create a digital referral system in its operations centre.

The trust delivers community-based services to support people in managing their own health at home and reducing the need for hospital visits. It cares for thousands of people every day.

The operations centre receives referrals from GPs, hospitals, social services, care professionals and patients themselves and makes sure they are directed to the most appropriate service for individual needs.

Staff at the centre spend many hours fielding calls for other providers or following up information on incomplete referrals.

Inhealthcare is working with the trust to develop an online system for handling referrals that can be accessed by both patients and professionals.

The streamlined system will enable operations centre staff to focus on their primary roles of guiding patients to the correct community health services.

The new system is due to go live early in the new year.

Tracy Pilcher, director of nursing, allied health professions and operations at the trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with Inhealthcare to create a new e-referral service for Lincolnshire.

“This new system will enhance the patient experience and improve the quality of service we provide.”

Inhealthcare is creating digital referral forms for 10 services including diabetes, tissue viability, heart failure, Macmillan support, Parkinson’s disease and transitional care.

Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, added: “Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust cares for thousands of people every day, supporting people to manage their health at home and reducing the need for hospital visits.

“We are thrilled to be working with the trust on this transformation programme to increase capacity at its busy operations centre and help the NHS to deliver more care to people living in the community.”

This year, Inhealthcare has also signed deals with NHS organisations in the North East and North Cumbria as well as the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).