Specialist outpatient strategy

The Specialist Outpatient Strategy: Improving the patient journey by 2020 details initiatives designed to tackle specialist outpatient waiting lists and improve access to specialist services.

We have responsibility for developing and implementing most of these initiatives in partnership with stakeholders including Hospital and Health Services (HHSs).

These initiatives aim to improve a patient’s whole journey from general practitioner (GP) referral to outpatient appointment, diagnostic procedure, any required intervention and recovery.

The first initiative to be delivered under this strategy on 27 June 2017 was Better connecting Queensland’s GPs and public hospitals.

This initiative allows Queensland GPs to register for secure online access to their patients’ public hospital information including appointment records, radiology and laboratory results, treatment and discharge summaries, and demographic and medication details.

We’ve also made significant progress in developing and implementing Clinical Prioritisation Criteria (CPCs) which help ensure patients referred for public specialist outpatient services in Queensland are assessed in order of clinical urgency.

CPCs will be used by both referring practitioners when referring into the Queensland public hospital system and Queensland public specialist outpatient services when determining how quickly the patient should be seen (urgency category).

Four proof of concept sites implemented CPCs in 2016 (Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Metro North and Metro South Hospitals and Health Services), with learnings and experiences from these sites to inform the broader rollout of CPCs across Queensland Health.

We’ve also worked closely with Mackay Hospital and Health Service to embed CPCs into HealthPathways, the primary platform for referring Queensland practitioners to access the criteria when making a referral.

To 30 June 2017, an additional 4,300 non-admitted patient telehealth service events were delivered under the Specialist Outpatient Strategy. These service events were delivered by 16 facilities across a number of clinic types including Orthopaedics, Remote Chemotherapy, Antenatal, and Cardiac Stress Testing/Holter Monitoring. These services represent both expansion of existing telehealth models of care and the implementation of innovative approaches to improving access to healthcare for people living in regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland.

Other initiatives underway include:

  • development of electronic referral management systems to ensure patient referrals are sent to the right place first time
  • identifying and investing in new models of care by initiating new ways of providing optimal care

^ We jointly developed The Specialist Outpatient Strategy: Improving the Patient Journey by 2020 with the Healthcare Purchasing and System Performance division of Queensland Health. The strategy was announced on 6 September 2016.

Last updated: 8 March 2018