A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review regarding patient referral issues, identifies problems faced by the health delivery system in coordinating care. As our population grows, ages and diversifies, the need for a streamlined approach to referrals is obvious. Complete healthcare services cannot be delivered by one individual physician or only at one specific site. More than one-third of all patients seen are referred. Additionally, over 46% of faxed referrals never result in a patient visit and an estimated 50% of referring physicians never know if their patient was actually seen. There is a critical need to elevate the referral process.
Major, large, diversified delivery systems, that theoretically function as one entity, clearly have divisions of services, providers, and locations. Data from Accenture indicates that about 7-8% of patients will switch physicians, even if they like their doctor, due to office inefficiencies and a poor experience with the practice. This could even mean losing the patient from the entire delivery system, thereby reducing revenue for providers at all levels and all facilities within the system. There is a need for a coordinated healthcare referral system. One that allows for prompt appointments, elimination of paper, patient tracking and followup, electronic reminders, cues, and prompts. All of this, and more, including monitoring performance of care coordinators, can be accomplished. ReferralMD has created a solution that is being adopted currently by a growing number of medical centers and practices.
This cloud based software can be integrated, by custom interfaces, with the most common EMR systems (Epic, Cerner etc.). In addition, ReferralMD also integrates with local, regional and legacy systems.
The UCSF Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is one of four academic departments in the School of Dentistry in San Francisco. By using ReferralMD to consolidate all referrals into one work queue (fax, electronic, phone, website) and track status updates in real-time with referring providers, USCF-OMS was able to streamline their referral management process and gain operational efficiencies that redefined their referral management process within one week of implementation. The results were that within the first week, UCSF immediately eliminated lost referrals, lowered patient wait times and provided real-time, consistent patient feedback with providers. Within 90 days. UCSF-OMS experienced a 100% referral capture rate, an increase in referrals and referral sources as well as a decrease in patient wait times.
As most in the healthcare industry know, it is estimated that only 50% of patient referrals result in a completed appointment. Why? Most patient referral systems are highly flawed, making use of antiquated tools like fax machines, which block proper communication and leave patients in limbo. This results in patients not receiving efficient and quality care. The goal for medical practices is to have an easily accessible referral system that allows primary care providers to supply specialists with more complete patient information.
“As a high volume group practice, we receive referrals through a variety of channels. Referral MD consolidates these channels into a single interface and automates much of the follow-up. Our staﬀ is saving time and our referring providers are getting better service. It’s a win-win.”