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Top 6 Reasons Why You Need A Referral Management System Even Though You Have An EMR/EHR

When an organization considers purchasing a patient Referral Management System (RMS), one of the first points management considers is whether or not its existing EMR/EHR can provide the missing functionality with an add-on, or perhaps already does but is not being used.

In general, use cases that are exclusive to employed healthcare providers working within the provider system will favor using an EMR alone. However, once an organization wants to do complex tiering of its networks and/or work with provider resources outside its organization, a Referral Management System becomes critical. 

Below, we provide the top 6 reasons a Referral Management System is a necessary tool for a healthcare system in addition to an EHR/EMR.

6. Referral Management Systems Enable Healthy Provider Network Utilization

A healthy referral network should be able to distribute referrals evenly among comparable resources in a given geography. It is essential to maintain active participation among all the providers in the network. Often a favored specialist at the top of the list keeps getting more and more referrals at the expense of others who might be just as qualified. An effective Referral Management System can provide load-balancing algorithms so that referrals are distributed evenly among comparable providers.

5. Referral Management Systems Provide End-to-End Patient Referral Tracking

Part of the clinical opportunity for referral management stems from the fact that referrals typically occur when there is a change of diagnosis or an escalation in care. As such, a referral is often the first indication that a patient will likely trigger significant downstream consumption. A well-implemented patient referral solution enables an organization to track patients in real-time and better guide patients towards high-quality low-cost care settings. Further, the system needs to encourage specialist staff to report appointment attendance or noncompliance, as well as return clinical notes to primary care offices for better patient care and better patient outcomes.

4. Referral Management Systems Facilitate Real-Time Referral Reporting

The ability to report highly granular referral analytics that illustrates referral patterns is essential for any Referral Management System. Organizations taking on risk as well as organizations optimizing referral patterns need to stay vigilant about network performance and network adequacy. Referral analytics should help organizations identify particular areas of concern as well as provide reporting that impacts referral patterns and facilitates change. Furthermore, robust Referral management software should be able to provide this data within the application itself as well as have the ability to export this data in any suitable format. 

3. Referral Management Systems Create Dynamic Referral List Based on Location

Many organizations must be able to manage referrals across large geographic areas. Indeed, the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that many provider organizations enter into with payers as part of risk-sharing arrangements have network requirements that dictate how far away a specialist referral can be for a patient. A patient referral management solution can store the SLAs from the different payers, and then generate a geo-specific list of referral resources that can be based on the primary care provider’s location or the patient’s home.

2. Referral Management Systems Create Dynamic Referral Lists Based on Payer Selection or Plan Design

Referral networks tend to have networks within the network, where different payers or insurance plans have preferences or rules where patients can go for care. A referral management solution can generate a referral list for each patient based on the plan each patient carries.

1. Referral Management Systems Connect Healthcare Clinics Across Different EMRs

Once an organization wants to manage referrals across networks (e.g. among affiliates), chances are high that many offices will be using different EMRs. An effective referral management solution will be able to provide workflow and integration solutions that can work across multiple different EMR/EHR vendors and networks. 

How has HealthViewX added value to referring physicians’ patient referral problems?

1) Automating the insurance pre-authorization process 

HealthViewX platform has a payer management module that maintains and manages 

  • Different payer details
  • Modes of prior authorization
  • Direct authorization procedures
  • Payer forms 
  • Online portal links
  • With this information already present, it provides the referral coordinator with the capability to automate 
  • Prior authorization submission
  • Status checks coupled 
  • Fax integration

It simplifies the process of insurance pre-authorization. The referral coordinator need not waste time on the process anymore.

2) Intelligent Provider Match 

Our “Smart Search” feature makes it easy for the referring provider in finding the right provider. It has smart filters and search options that help in narrowing down the specialist based on the requirements.

3) Establishing best practices

After using our HealthViewX Patient Referral Management System, physicians were automatically alerted to

  • Appointments
  • Referral status
  • Patient diagnostic reports
  • Referral completion 

As a result, we can cut down on miscommunications and bridge the gaps between the specialist and the physician community. The system also assembles a patient encounter record from the EMR/EHR and pushes it directly to the physician.

4) Forming a close-knit of trusted referral receiving centers

Our system helps in strengthening ties with the medical community. From a history referral experiences the PCPs can from a close-knit of referral receiving providers. Physicians can now refer patients to hospitals they can rely on. 

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution helps the referring physicians in handling and managing their referrals. Are you an inbound referral heavy practice looking for an end-to-end referral management solution? Schedule a demo with us. Our patient referral management experts will guide you through our HIPAA compliant solution.

How Can Automated Referral Workflows Increase Patient Satisfaction?

Today’s healthcare model demands that services be centered around patients. This model faces additional challenges when care needs to be coordinated among multiple providers. Between 1999 and 2009, the number of primary care visits resulting in referral has increased by 159%. 

Problems with the existing referral workflow

Research strongly indicates that referring physicians need to improve the quality of information they provide to consulting physicians. When surveyed, 63% of PCPs and 35% of specialists report dissatisfaction with the current referral process because,

  • Paper referrals often do not provide adequate information
  • Consult reports are not delivered in a timely manner
  • Many referrals do not even include transmission of information, either to or from specialists

Consequently, PCPs are always not aware if a patient has seen a specialist. To add to this, up to 80% of ACO clinicians report the lack of interoperability among data systems is the greatest challenge. It happens particularly when they are attempting to locate information from out-of-network providers. Physicians consistently indicate that improvements are needed in the referral system to optimize patient care.

Why are automated workflows important?

Did you know? Among all patient referrals from PCP to the specialist, it is estimated that only half as many patients show up for their specialty care appointment. Furthermore, “self-referral” patients who see specialists without a recommendation from a PCP are associated with higher patient dissatisfaction and poorer continuity of care with the primary care doctor. A study states that 70% of specialists rate the referral information they receive from Primary Care Providers as fair or poor. 

In a patient-centric healthcare environment, patient satisfaction is the major concern of many practices. An automated referral workflow provides a way for physicians to ensure that patients are getting the care they need when they need it. As PCPs refer more patients to specialists each year, coordinated care and automated referral workflow become an urgent issue for both independent and hospital-based practices.

How can an Electronic Referral System help?

Information Technology enables patient referral workflow automation. HealthViewX Patient Referral Management System simplifies the process and closes the referral loop on time.

  1. The Primary Care Provider (PCP) identifies the need for a referral and initiates the same through the EHR system.
  2. The referral coordination team then validates the referral and does the insurance pre-authorization with the help of HealthViewX solution.
  3. The Intelligent Provider Smart Search feature of HealthViewX Patient Referral Management System helps in finding the right specialist or imaging center easily.
  4. The referral coordination team then sends the referral with the necessary documents to the relevant specialist or imaging center through the HealthViewX platform.
  5. The receiving provider gets notified about the referral and can schedule appointments with the patient.
  6. The patient and the receiving provider get reminders of the appointments thus reducing no-show rates.
  7. The referring provider is also notified about the status of the referral and how it is progressing. HealthViewX timeline view makes tracking and managing the referral lifecycle easier.
  8. HealthViewX tracks and sends reminders to the receiving provider to update the diagnosis, treatment recommendations, care plans in the referral.
  9. HealthViewX makes it easy for the referring provider by automatically updating this information back to the EHR system.
  10. Thus the HealthViewX solution closes the referral loop on time and helps in easy monitoring of the same.

Impacts of implementing an electronic referral management system

After the implementation of an electronic referral system, providers have observed, 

  • Enhanced direct communication between PCPs and specialists regarding their mutual patients
  • Better appointment tracking
  • Improved access to specialty care
  • Increased consult report compliance and follow-up

In addition, referral systems appeal to front-office staff because of its intuitive user interface and human-centered design. When providers can easily access needed information, they’re empowered to deliver better care.

Benefits of automating the referral workflow

  1. Increased Medicare reimbursements –  Medicare considers closing medical referral loop as a benchmark for giving reimbursements. Closed medical referral loops increase the opportunities for Medicare reimbursements for referral marketing.
  2. Streamline referral management – With HealthViewX Patient Referral System in place, the referral workflow is automated and streamlined.
  3. Improved patient care – Reduced waiting time gives patient satisfaction thereby improving the care quality.
  4. Increased productivity – Reduced operational time improves the efficiency of the patient referral system.



Patient Referral Management Simplified using Referral Management Software

Following features of HealthViewX simplify patient referral workflow for FQHCs and Enterprise Hospitals:

  1. Outbound and Inbound Referrals – HealthViewX Referral Management Solution can integrate with both the receiving and referring end. For inbound referrals, it helps in channelizing various sources into one single queue. In the case of outbound referrals, it facilitates integration with the existing system to read the patient data and send out referrals.
  2. Referral Timeline – In HealthViewX Referral Management System, any referral has a timeline, to capture and notify the progress of the referral to all the stakeholders. A referral will be mapped to a status which helps in tracking it better. With this, the providers can always be aware of how the referral is progressing.
  3. Workflow and Task Management – A workflow can be defined by how the referral flow must be(business rules). Tasks can be created to manage referrals by assigning it to the respective person.
  4. Improved communication – HealthViewX Referral Management Solution supports messaging and calling features for the referring and receiving providers to stay connected.
  5. Data Management – The solution is HIPAA-compliant and enables secure data exchange of all patient-related documents.
  6. Seamless Integration – The solution can seamlessly integrate with any EMR/EHR/RIS or Third Party application thus providing minimal disruption in the existing referral flow.
  7. Referral History 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.
  8. Smart Search – HealthViewX Referral Management solution has a smart search facility that helps in finding the right provider for the treatment required.
  9. Referral Data Analytics – Referral data-centric dashboard gives complete data regarding the number of referrals flowing out, the number of referrals in various status, patient follow-ups, etc.

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution smoothens the referral process and solves most of the inbound and outbound referral challenges for Large Enterprise Hospitals. Do you want to know more about HealthViewX HIPAA compliant Patient Referral Management solution? Schedule a demo with us.

Common challenges of manual patient referral management in 2019

  1. Documentation – During the referral process, referring physicians tend to miss out valuable patient information. Many times vital symptoms and findings from initial tests are often not sent with the referral order, leading to health complications that could have otherwise been avoided.
  2. Leadership disconnects – The leadership team should know which doctors are referring patients to specialists. Well-connected team structure enables educational conversation between leadership and care providers regarding overutilization, referrals to high-cost specialists, or the importance of sending all necessary documentation with every referral.
  3. Lack of coordination among caregivers – Did you know? Lack of coordination among caregivers are endemic and contribute to an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths from medical errors each year.
  4. Follow-ups – Many primary care practices do not follow-up after they’ve referred a patient to a specialist. They vest the responsibility of scheduling a specialist visit with the patient. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, this process does not happen in 50-60% of referrals that are made, putting patients at risk.
  5. Delays – The patient faces extended delays between the time the referral is sent and the time at which the actual appointment is made. As mentioned previously, delays and frustrations with the scheduling process can cause patients to avoid making an appointment, or they may ultimately cancel an existing appointment if the wait is too long.
  6. High-cost referrals – Primary care practices that refer patients to high-cost providers are harming their own practice and their patients. Exorbitant price tags affect reimbursement for PCPs and scare patients away from the idea of seeing a specialist, despite their medical conditions.

Challenges Specific to Patient Referral Workflow in Large Enterprise Hospitals

  1. Handling multiple EMR/EHRs – Large Enterprise Hospitals and Health Systems that are formed as part of mergers and/or acquisitions tend to handle multiple EMRs. EMR interoperability is their greatest challenge.
  2. Finding the right specialist – A Large Enterprise Hospital has a huge number of specialists. PCPs are not aware of specialists who were newly added or who came within their network as a result of mergers or acquisitions. So many times PCPs tend to refer their patients out of their network in spite of having the right provider within the network.
  3. Patient no-show rates – When patients miss/forget or do not show up for appointments, it results in revenue loss for the hospital. Patients miss appointments due to various reasons like no reminders, waiting time, a better specialist within the locality, reputation of the receiving provider, etc.
  4. Referral leakage – Did you know? Referral leakage for any health system can average anywhere from 55-65%! Patient leakage or referral leakage occurs more in an out-of-network referral than in an in-network referral. There could be many factors such as the reputation of a provider, lack of knowledge or insight and patient’s choice that lead to patient leakage.
  5. Patient dissatisfaction – Large enterprise hospitals should keep track of the number of patients moving out of their network. An alarming 25 to 50% of referring physicians do not know whether their patients see the specialist! Patients become dissatisfied with the treatment when specialists or PCPs do not follow-up with them regularly.
  6. Referral Analytics –  As a large number of referrals flow in and out of the network, it is difficult to track the exact number. It is also tedious to track the number of referrals in various status and to close referral loops.

Solutions for optimal patient referral management in 2019

  1. HealthViewX introduces a collaborative design that connects primary care providers with specialists on a single and uniform network.
  2. Electronically-connected specialists form a network of care collaboration, where both parties are responsible for the timely care of their mutual patients.
  3. Secure electronic notifications provide quick and reliable information between PCP and specialist.
  4. PCPs now have an enhanced ability to track referrals.
  5. Electronic Referral Management has decreased wait times for face-to-face specialty clinic visits.
  6. With Electronic Referral Management system, each step in the workflow prompts easy follow-ups and automatically closes the loop on all referrals
  7. End-to-End referral lifecycle management with bidirectional EMR/EHR Integration HealthViewX platform supports dynamic forms, workflows, task lists, reports, data visualization and has great integration capabilities. It can automatically pull referral orders from EMR/EHR in real-time. It also helps in configuring all other referral coordinator workflows and tasks with maximum automation.
  8. Multi-channel referral consolidation that brings all the referrals from multiple sources like email/phone/fax/notes into a single queue.
  9. Detailed referral information through which the Specialist receives all the necessary referral details.
  10. Automated Specialist / Patient Notification & Reminders with Customizable templates and configurable channels of communication
  11. Payer-specific prior authorization process automation – HealthViewX platform has a payer management module that maintains and manages
  • different payer details
  • their modes of prior authorization
  • direct authorization procedures
  • payer forms
  • online portal links

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution smooths the referral process and solves most of the inbound and outbound referral challenges for Large Enterprise Hospitals. Do you want to know more about HealthViewX HIPAA-compliant Patient Referral Management solution? Schedule a demo with us.

A Leading FQHC In California Chooses HealthViewX To Manage Their End-To-End Referral Process

About the Federally Qualified Health Center

Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the United States is a non-profit entity comprising of clinical care providers, that operate at comprehensive federal standards. The care providers in FQHC are a part of the country’s health care safety net, which is defined as a group of health centers, hospitals, and providers who are willing to provide services to the nation’s needy crowd, thus ensuring that comprehensive care is available to all, regardless of income or insurance status. This client is the health care safety net for their county’s poor and uninsured people. The FQHC gives the people access to high-quality health services that they needed and deserved. They are key regional health providers who treats more than 65,000 patients annually.

Challenges in the existing referral workflow of HealthViewX Federally Qualified Health Center client

The following are the major problems our Federally Qualified Health Center client wanted a solution for. Let us consider the challenges with a typical referral scenario to understand it better.

  1. Insurance pre-authorizationThe physician must check the pre-authorization requirements, health plans, etc. He must retrieve patient-specific data like the history of medications, medical diagnosis and insurance coverage. The physician must then send it to the insurance company so that they can validate the same. This client did not a dedicated team or software to do insurance pre-authorization which increased their burden.
  2. Tracking the referral – Specialists are usually busy. They do not have the time to inform physician’s about the progress of referrals. So the physicians are unable to track referrals. They get no information about appointments, referral loop closure or feedback from specialists or patients.

How HealthViewX features helped this FQHC client resolve their challenges

Considering the existing workflow of the FQHC, their major problems are insurance pre-authorization and referral tracking. So how can HealthViewX Patient Referral Management solution help in solving these problems?

The following features made the pre-authorization  and referral communication easier for this FQHC client,

  1. EMR/EHR integration – Our System integrates directly with electronic health records (EHRs). This enables healthcare professionals to easily obtain prior authorizations in real time at the point of care. It also eliminates time-consuming paper forms, faxes, and phone calls.
  2. Insurance pre-authorization automation –  There are two ways in which HealthViewX solution automates the insurance pre-authorization process. The first one is the api-based method. Through this, we retrieve information regarding the forms and communicate information back and forth between the FQHC and the insurance company. The second one is the form automation method.  Through this, we get all payer-specific form, fill in the necessary information and send it to the insurance company via efax
  3. 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. By this, the physicians can get referral updates easily.

Useful HealthViewX Patient Referral Management Solution features

Leading FQHC in California has chosen HealthViewX due to the industry-leading patient referral management features. FQHCs across USA can benefit from Referral Management Software depending on their patient referral workflow,

  • Intelligent Provider Match
  • HIPAA compliant data security
  • Referral history
  • Referral loop closure

HealthViewX Patient Referral Management software has provided the best use cases for the major challenges faced by the FQHC. Are you a Federally Qualified Health Center missing out on your referral updates? Schedule a demo with us to know more about our solution.

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.