The healthcare industry is looking to technology to streamline various administrative and operational processes. As a practice grows and new services are included, manually tracking all the required parameters is not practical, is time-consuming and is not economical. A deficiency in managing operational processes will result in loss of patients and revenue leakage.
Are you among 50% of referring physicians who don’t know if their patients actually visited the specialist? If you are facing this challenge, the use of technology is highly recommended to solve the referral tracking problem. 70% of the specialists rate the patient referral information they receive from other providers as fair or poor. If you are in this segment, patient referral retention is a problem you must be familiar with. With every medical practice challenged to make most of its time, regular status updates on each referral allow for effective care coordination and timely workflows.
Whatever the size of your practice, there are at least four factors you must consider while choosing an effective medical referral management system.
Electronic Health Record ( EHR / EMR) Integration and Report Access
Ensure that the referral management system you choose integrates well with the EMR system used by physicians and specialists. In the initial stage of the referral cycle, access to detailed patient history and medical records helps eliminate duplicate tests and assess previous evaluation more accurately. Quick access to the medical records also helps specialists diagnose the problem faster. With secure access to patient’s medical records, specialists and physicians can coordinate better on an integrated plan addressing all the patient’s existing and previous medical conditions.
While using software for optimal operations, revenue tracking and patient pipeline, data analysis is key to maintain efficiency. A comprehensive dashboard must be able to help the referral coordinator evaluate the number of referrals sent out, referrals received and the status of each referral. A view of the pipeline helps monitor patient leakage and retain patients within the network. It also helps schedule appointments at a mutual convenience to patient and practitioner. Regarding revenue, knowing the patient pipeline and calculating the retention rate will help the practitioner predict the revenue inflow each month and grow the practice with realistic goals. It will also help the practitioner monitor parameters such as average revenue per patient, an average number of referrals in/out per month, quarterly revenue growth, most treated conditions, patients who need referral redirects etc which are vital statistics for the practice. Specifically monitoring completion rates and lead times will help providers monitor if the referrals they send out are accurate, scheduled and treatment completed. This helps improve patient retention rates in the long run.
Integrated cross-device communication platform
Care coordination and referral management should be a closed loop. On an average, a physician refers to 200+ other physicians and specialists. Currently, there are several open loops such as not knowing whether the patient completed the appointment, not knowing what treatment was prescribed after the referral was sent out and not knowing the levels of patient compliance with the care plan. Such loops can be closed with easy, effective communication channels between the PCP and specialists. A good referral management system should allow quick access to PCP and specialist to each other. This may be through chat, emails or status comments. In the mobile age, cross-device communication sync must be available so that quick discussions between physicians and specialists are made possible and overall care quality can be improved.
While sending a referral, parameters like specialist availability, procedures, protocols and specific business needs must be considered. The list of specialists in a provider’s network may belong to different practices and have specific skills. Sorting your database to find the most accurate patient-specialist match based on the patient’s medical conditions improves chances of better, faster diagnosis and healing. Patients are very involved in the healthcare decisions and would appreciate more information on the parameters considered when a specialist is being referred. By building credibility with accurate referrals, the loop between patient-physician and specialist is closed faster. Awareness of the patient status after referral helps the physician track if the patient actually completed the appointment with the specialist and follow up whether the suggested care plan is being compiled to. Patient retention can be improved with higher referral relevance.
The above-mentioned features are crucial while considering implementing a referral management system for your practice. HealthViewX referral management solution offers all these features and more! To understand more, contact our team to schedule a demo