Ottawa has a 31-bed palliative care unit (PCU) and two residential adult hospices (total 19 beds). In 2013, we initiated a project to improve the referral and triage processes to these beds. Previously, there were two separate paper-based systems with duplication, inefficiencies, delays and inappropriate patient placements. The multipronged approach included clarifying the respective roles of the PCU and hospices, creating a single referral and triage office and developing an e-platform. We leveraged technology that was available in the public-funded system. This paper describes the development processes, lessons learned, and the final system, referred to as System to Manage Access, Referrals and Triage (SMART).
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