Seven Mistakes To Be Avoided In A Patient Referral Network

             Referral Networks of healthcare play a crucial role in determining the hospital’s income, patient stability, and information security. It is essential for a practice to build a strong referral network of health providers from the beginning. It requires a strong provider base to strengthen a patient referral network. Once the practice establishes a patient referral network, they have to maintain it. There are few mistakes that every practice makes and are not aware of how they lose their referrals. The following are few mistakes that can affect patient referral networks,

  1. Ignoring Patient SatisfactionPatient satisfaction is the determining factor of a hospital’s repute. During the referral process, the patients interact with the receiving physician. So patient experience of the referral has a direct impact on the hospital’s patient referral network. In many cases, the physicians are unaware of how the referral process impacts the patient. When the receiving physician finds the referral information incomplete, the physician will make the patient repeat the diagnosis. This affects the patient’s experience. The patient will also not like to bridge the gap between the referring and the receiving physicians. When the patient is dissatisfied, he/she leaves the practice resulting in patient leakage. A Referral Management software that can easily communicate between the referring and receiving physicians will improve the patient’s experience. Surveys and feedback forms keep the practice informed of the patient’s experience. The physicians must handle patients better and make them feel good during the referral process.
  2. Partnering with bad network physicians – Having health partners with bad repute in a patient referral network is the biggest mistake. If the practice is not selective in choosing the physicians, it is bound to witness worst patient experiences. The practice should not sign any physician just because they have good credentials. Even a good physician may not meet the referral requirements. The hospital must take time to analyze the physician and study the provider’s network before signing them. Choosing good health partners is a strategic decision and should make it considering the future well-being of the practice. If the practice is looking for a long-term partnership then should find a stable health partner. In the age of technology, the practice must choose a physician who complies with the EHR/ Referral Management software used. EHR or Referral Management software compatibility issues greatly influence patient referral networks.
  3. Poor communication – Communication is everything in a referral process. It lays the foundation for patient’s experience. As a part of medical care rules, hospitals should have protocol norms for communicating with patients. The practice should train their staff and should check the same regularly. This will make sure that when the practice refers their patients out, all the essential information moves along with them.  This will give the patients better understanding of what to expect and what their responsibilities are. The practice must make sure to spend quality time with the patients for their doubts and queries. Patients expect the physicians to communicate smoothly and flawlessly. Living up to the expectations of the patients make the practice run smoothly.
  4. Neglecting measurements –  Staying aware of general patient satisfaction may not be enough. The practice must adopt more formal methods of evaluating the health of the network. The practice can get a high-level view of what’s going on through surveys, feedbacks, software etc. These tools can be used to get patient opinions, evaluate the smoothness and timeliness of transitions. It can also say how well the practice has established patient expectations around referrals and how well they’re being met. Surveys can be anything as simple as a form of feedback options integrated into the patient portal solution. The practice must make sure that the surveys cover topics like coordination, access, and quality of care along with appointment experience. Measurement at this level may require a dedicated staff member, or at the very least, making the required duties a formal part of an employee’s job description. Once the practice has a clear picture of what’s going on, it’s time to improve. The practice can use the information gained to highlight specific areas of improvement. It improves future training and protocol standards.
  5. Neglecting long-term growth – The practice should have a solid business strategy. The American Academy Of Orthopedic Surgeons proposed a ten step process. It helps doctors in having a strategic approach towards the growth of the practice. The process involves market evaluations, budget creation, strategic plans development, marketing plan, new reimbursement model preparation, etc. Business development is the backbone of a strong patient referral network. Once the practice establishes a patient referral network, they must begin adding more doctors and professionals with whom they are comfortable. This will optimize the processes and standards already in place.
  6. Careless about security breaches – One of the few downsides of a well-connected patient referral network is increased exposure to data breaches. Since 2009, 15 million patients’ Personal Health Information has been exposed. A practice should protect their patients’ valuable information. Hiring a professional to audit the practice’s internet breach can help. Audits detect unauthorized access to patient information, curb inappropriate accesses and track misuse of PHI. A practice can consider partnering with other network members. It cuts down the cost of bringing in outside consultants and solutions. The practice must keep all personnel properly trained on HIPAA guidelines.
  7. Using outdated technology – The increase in the number of referrals on a daily basis makes it very tedious and difficult for the existing process and system to manage them. The most commonly used system of referrals being fax and this method of sending / receiving referrals is time-consuming and prone to errors. Communication with the PCP’s and the patients on follow-ups and sharing of the results is a cumbersome process which impacts the overall satisfaction of the both. Considering the complexity of referral system, an effective Referral Management Software is the need of the hour.

HealthViewX Referral Management solution features

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution has features that best suit a hospitals’ Referral Management System.

  1. Seamless communication – HealthViewX solution has an audio calling and messaging features. It enables secure and faster communication among the referring physicians, receiving physicians and patients.
  2. HIPAA compliant data security – The solution is HIPAA-compliant and offers secure data exchange. It supports almost all formats of files that can b sent and received during any time of referral process. It also keeps the patient documents safe.
  3. Referral history – The timeline view provides the history and current status of the referral. A status helps in knowing how far the referral has progressed. It acts as a channel of communication between referring and receiving physicians.
  4. Data Analytics – A comprehensive dashboard helps to track the number of referrals in the queue and shows the number of referrals in different statuses. This helps in knowing how fast the referrals are getting closed.
  5. Report Consolidation – The data regarding the referrals and timeline view can be printed as a report anytime in pdf/excel form.
  6. Invariant referral process – HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution can integrate with EMR/EHR and can write data of referral into any system if required. It is almost zero deviation from the current workflow a practice is using.

            With HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution in place, physicians never make a mistake in the referral process. Managing a referral life cycle is very easy. A 30-minute demo with our team will help you know how effective our solution is in tracking and managing the referral process. To know more schedule a demo with us.