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vol.71 issue10The role of socio-economic position on satisfaction with oral health services among South African adults: a structural equation modelComparing repeat and first visit patients' satisfaction with service quality at Medunsa Oral Health Centre author indexsubject indexarticles search
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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


MTHETHWA, SR  and  CHABIKULI, N J. The efficiency of the referral system at Medunsa Oral Health Centre. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2016, vol.71, n.10, pp.448-453. ISSN 0375-1562.

INTRODUCTION: The functioning of various referral systems in health service delivery at district level have been described. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To examine the effectiveness of the elective treatment referral system that operates internally at Medunsa Oral Health Centre. The proportion of emergency and non-emergency patients who consulted at the diagnostic unit and were subsequently referred for elective treatment at clinical units during February 2013 was compared with those who had actually received treatment one year later. DESIGN: This was a retrospective, comparative cross-sectional study in which existing medical records were reviewed. METHODS: Treatment records of emergency and non-emergency patients who consulted at the diagnostic unit and were subsequently referred to clinical units for elective treatment during February 2013 were reviewed one year later. The service register of the diagnostic unit for the month of February 2013 was also reviewed. Data related to the referral preferences of attending clinicians, demographic characteristics and dates when treatment was actually received was extracted. RESULTS: Significantly fewer (14.6%) patients of either group were treated than were referred. The average waiting time for treatment was 81.2 days and ranged between 6 and 184.5 days. CONCLUSIONS: The internal referral system that operates at Medunsa Oral Health Centre was shown to be inefficient.

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