ERMS was developed almost 15 years ago to answer a clinical need for a more consistent, reliable and faster referral system. At the time, patient referrals were sent to DHB providers in various ways, including by hand, post, fax, email and in the hands of the patient. This made patient care difficult to track, creating opportunities for people to fall through the cracks and often creating more work for clinicians to follow up on referrals. Following the Canterbury Earthquakes, there was also an increase in referrals and the need for a more rigorous, streamlined system.
To meet these needs, Pegasus Health (Charitable) Ltd partnered with the Canterbury DHB to create ERMS. At the centre of its development were clinicians and systems experts. Experienced general practitioners worked with senior specialists, health care managers and IT developers to ensure the e-referral system delivered what was needed.
In 2009 ERMS was confirmed by the Canterbury DHB as its sole provider of e-referrals from general practice. Pegasus Health provided, and continues to provide ERMS’s software development, hosting and technical support services.
In 2012 ERMS was selected as the South Island regional eReferral system.
Today ERMS is regarded as the gold standard referral management software across all major South Island DHBs, with most mandating the use of ERMS for referring into DHB-funded care.
In late 2021, the Whanganui DHB became the first North Island DHB to adopt ERMS. All general practices in the DHB now refer through ERMS GP. The Whanganui DHB is using ERMS Online to help facilitate their triaging process.
In 2022 ERMS Online will evolve further to integrate with the seven most commonly-used PMS’s, providing general practitioners with the more modern user interface and the increased functionality and security that ERMS Online provides.