Electronic Referral Management To Track Inbound Referrals Effectively

In a year, 15 billion faxes are sent out for referrals in the US. Referrals can be through fax, online forms, direct messaging, email, virtual print, direct walk-ins, etc but the maximum patient referrals are sent through fax. An imaging center or specialty practice or a dental center is a high referral inbound setup. Thousands of referrals flow in and they need an effective referral tracking system to manage the inbound referral traffic.

Let us consider an example to understand how an imaging center is managing the inbound referral traffic, Mr. Samuel is suffering from ear pain. The patient consults his Primary Care Provider who asks him to get an X-ray done. The PCP sends out a fax to the imaging center that contains the patient’s information and the diagnostic tests to be taken. At the imaging center, a referral coordinator has to receive, accept and process the request. The referral coordinator has to manually key in and create a referral, include all the patient information into the EMR/EHR/RIS. The referral coordinator takes around half an hour to process a referral request. The rate of processing is very slow. The referral coordinator finds it difficult to process even 20 referral faxes in a day. It results in piling up of faxes waiting to be processed. The referral coordinator is at loss trying to figure out why he/she is not able to close the referral loop. Patient referral leakage also becomes imminent.

Imaging Centers under constant pressure

An imaging center or a specialty practice gets numerous referrals in a day through phone calls, email, fax, patient walk-in etc. In most of the cases, it is through traditional fax. It is handled by a referral coordinator who redirects the referrals to the respective internal sections. They have an EMR/EHR/RIS in which the patient details will be taken if already present or they will have to key in all the details in the fax regarding the patient and the diagnosis required. As the number of faxes is piling, the time and effort required for them will be more. They are at loss in knowing how many referrals are done and missed. Entering the patient information and processing is a mammoth task and becomes tedious for them to manage manually.

Consequences of a slow referral network

  • The imaging center or specialty practice loses its revenue when referrals are not processed in time.
  • Providers stop referring the center thereby harming its reputation.
  • Patients may be severely ill and must be treated immediately. The waiting time may affect their health.

Problems faced

  • Handling many referrals manually in a short period of time.
  • Varied sources of referral make it difficult to get a comprehensive data about the referrals flowing in.
  • The time spent in processing a hard copy fax referral is more.
  • The information about the referral is limited and makes it difficult for the referral coordinator to proceed with the diagnosis.
  • It takes a lot of time for the center to contact the referring provider in case of doubts.

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. Relying on EHR/EMR/RIS for managing referrals makes it a costly affair and does not fulfill the optimal requirements of healthcare information technology for referral workflow management.

Electronic Referral Management has been creating buzz for quite a time. Many applications are looking to solve the referral process issues. Before choosing one, the following aspects must be considered.

  • Simplify data sources – Capable of handling numerous referrals from various sources and bringing it to a platform from where it can be processed.
  • Improve Efficiency – Closing the referral loop on time thus preventing patient referral leakage. This will improve the efficiency that is the number of referrals will be processed in a short span of time.
  • Data security – Sensitive patient data must be secured and protected.
  • Data Analytics – Complete analytics of the referrals flowing in, processed, missed etc.
  • Timeline View – To know the history of the referral and to what status it is attached to.
  • Integration with scheduler – To schedule appointments for the patients.
  • HIPAA Compliant – Secure data exchange of patient sensitive documents.

Any imaging center or specialty practice receives a number of referral requests in a day. The referrals usually have an attachment in pdf form which will be noneditable. They will have a form that has to be filled out with the details given in the referral. HealthViewX Patient  Referral Tracking System comes to play here. Using Optical Character Recognition(OCR) the information from the referral will be read and the form is prefilled with the required details. Now the referral coordinator can just validate the details and create a referral and assign it for further action. The referral information can also be channelized based on the request of the user for eg: Two referrals forms can be filled in if it concerns people in different locations. The solution can be integrated with EMR/EHR/RIS and can write the updated information back the system used by them.

Problems Addressed

  • Single Referral Workflow Queue Consolidation – Fax, Phone, Email, Website form referrals are captured, managed and monitored in a single interface. This helps in managing the referrals better.
  • OCR (Optical Character Recognition) – Helps in avoiding manual errors and reduces the referral processing time for referrals through eFax.
  • Timeline View – Both the center and the PCP can view the timeline data of the patient in which the referral history is present. Documents and notes can be attached anytime for one another’s reference.
  • To and fro Communication – At any time of the referral process, the PCP and the center can communicate with the help of the inbuilt secure messaging and voice call applications.
  • Referral Data Consolidation – The consolidated data regarding the referrals and the referral history of any patient can be printed as a hard copy at any time in pdf/excel.
  • Secure Data Management – HealthViewX Patient Referral Management is HIPAA compliant. All patient-related documents are managed 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 is on par with the current referral network requirements of an imaging center or specialty practice. Are you an imaging center or a specialist practice looking to track your inbound referrals very effectively? To know about HealthViewX Patient Referral Management System in detail schedule a demo with our team.