How Can Dental Centers Improve Their Patient Referral Workflow?

Did you know? In a year, 15 billion faxes are sent out for referrals in the USA. Practices receive referrals through fax, online forms, direct messaging, email, virtual print, direct walk-ins, and other channels. A typical dental center is a high inbound referral setup. They need an effective referral management solution to manage the increasing inbound referral rates.

Existing Patient Referral Management Workflow in a Dental Center

A typical dental center or dental group is a high inbound patient referral setup. Dental centers receive volume of referrals weekly (ranging from 50 per week to even several hundred per week) depending on the number of patients visiting the center and number of clinics sending referrals to them. An effective referral management solution will help manage small or big volumes of referrals by reducing manual tasks and using automation and structure where possible.

Dental centers usually have a dedicated team of referral coordinators who receive, accept and process the referral requests. These referral coordinators manually key in the necessary details  into an EMR/EHR system and create a referral. The time spent by referral coordinator in a completely manual process can be reduced by using technology. Productivity and efficiency is increased by introducing technology to aid the process. It results in piling up requests that are not yet processed. When the referral coordinator does not have the required information to process the referral, he has to contact the referring provider. This further incurs time and results in slow referral processing rate. This, in turn has a negative impact on patient experience. Hence, patient referral leakage also becomes imminent.

Consequences of a slow referral network

  • The dental center loses its revenue when referrals are not processed in time.
  • Providers stop referring the center thereby harming its reputation.
  • Patients may have severe illness and may need immediate attention. The waiting time may affect their health.

Challenges faced by a Dental Center

  • Referrals flow into the dental center through various channels like fax, online forms, direct messaging, email, virtual print, direct walk-ins, etc. A dental center has no specified source to receive referrals.
  • The dental center receives numerous referrals which are difficult for them to process. This is because there is no single system to consolidate and manage referrals
  • There is no tracking system to understand in which stage of a referral life cycle is any referral is in.

Let us review a typical referral process to elaborate the challenges faced by the dental centers.

  1. Patient visits the PCP – Andrews met with an accident recently. He met his PCP, Dr. John immediately as he was experiencing pain in his jaw. After examining him, Dr.John wanted him to consult a dentist. The doctor then initiated the referral.
  2. PCP initiates the referral – John created a referral in his EMR. He did not have time to do the insurance pre-authorization so he left it to Andrews. He then found a dentist and gave him referral information verbally. Now when he met the specialist, Andrews had to again elaborate his condition and problems to him. This is time-consuming for the specialist as he wastes time on the same information twice.
  3. Specialist requires more information – The specialist, Dr. James is a famous dentist in the locality. After receiving the referral, he schedules an appointment with Andrews. After the appointment, Dr. James wants more information about the patient’s history and diagnostic reports. Now, he has to wait for the PCP, Dr. John to send him the relevant information.
  4. No tracking system for referrals – As Dr. James is a famous dentist in the locality, he receives numerous referrals in a day. There is no tracking system for him to know how many referrals he received, how many were processed, in what status each referral is in, etc. So it is difficult for Dr. James to know understand the analytics of his specialty.

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution at your aid

Patient Referral Management is complicated not only by the different sources but also by trying to manage all the referrals manually. The current referral management is no way close to the increasing demands of the referral process. Its inability to communicate between the referring and the receiving ends makes it slow and non-feasible.

Considering the challenges faced by dental centers, an Electronic Referral Management Software can help them better. After the complete analysis of a dental center’s referral workflow, HealthViewX realized that the crucial part of the problem is the lack of a system to consolidate referrals. On further analysis of their process, HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution introduced the following features to meet their requirements,

  • Multi-Channel Referral Consolidation – Referrals flowing in through many channels are consolidated in a single interface. It enables easier monitoring and facilitates timely referral loop closure.
  • Referral Tracking – HealthViewX gives a clear picture about how a referral has progressed with the help of a timeline view. Every referral has a status which conveys in which stage the referral is in. With the help of a customizable dashboard, the exact number of referrals waiting to be processed can be identified easily.
  • New Referral Channel – HealthViewX Referral Management solution supports a new channel for sending and receiving referrals. This is called the desktop application. Sources like email, website, direct message, fax, etc are not secure and difficult to handle. On the other hand, desktop application is a secure source for sending and receiving referrals. Also documents can be attached and sent as a referral.
  • Referral Data Consolidation – It has options for printing the consolidated data about the referrals and the referral history of any patient as a hard copy at any time in PDF/excel.
  • Secure Data Management – HealthViewX Patient Referral Management is HIPAA compliant. It manages all patient-related documents securely.
  • Referral Analytics – Helps in tracking the number of referrals and gives complete information about the referrals processed, missed, scheduled etc with the help of a Referral Data-centric Dashboard.

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution helps dental centers in managing their referral network and increasing their revenue. Are you a dental center looking to track your inbound referrals very effectively? To know about HealthViewX Patient Referral Management System in detail schedule a demo with our team.