Northern NSW Local Health District has started rolling out e-Discharge Referrals through NSW Health's medical data transfer facility, HealtheNet. 

For Northern Rivers general practitioners this will mean discharges from the wards and the Accident and Emergency Department will now come through the practice's usual e-health communication provider. 

Many practitioners will be pleased to see the end of faxes from the LHD. The e-Discharges will make it easier for GPs to manage their patients' data, particularly for those patients with chronic disease who are frequently admitted to hospital. 

e-Discharges will now be sent directly to the HealtheNet servers in Sydney. From there it is distributed to general practitioners through their usual e-health communication provider, such as Argus, Medical Objects and Healthlink. If patients have opted in to the Federal government's online health record, the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), the discharge referrals can also be sent there. 

Currently GPs are identified in the system by their provider numbers. However, in the future practices will need to have had their HPI-O and their individual practitioners' HPI-I registered with HealtheNet.

The system will still default to sending a fax where the patient does not have their own GP but can nominate the general practice that they usually attend. However a default GP can be set up for the practice if preferred. 

Transfer of data from general practice to the local hospital remains limited with the best approach being to send documents indirectly via the PCEHR. All GP EHRs are able to upload Shared Health Summaries but e-Referrals are still unavailable in some of the more popular products.