The Treatspace Referral Management Blog

Insight, ideas, and resources for high-performance referral management

Christian Kratsas

Recent Posts

How Independent Practices Should Handle Electronic Referral Management

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 1/11/17 6:23 AM

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Over the past decade, as healthcare organizations began to implement electronic referral management applications, studies were conducted to measure their overall functionality and value in patient care and satisfaction. The results proved that when handled properly, electronic referral management cured several problems inherent in the old paper-based coordination of care procedures. What emerged from years of trial and error was a clear set of best practices for both primary and specialty care facilities that keeps the patient front and center.

When a healthcare organization decides to implement an ERM, what are those best practices to keep in mind?

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Topics: Referral Management, Referral Workflow

Can Automated Workflows Increase Patient Satisfaction?

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 1/6/17 6:05 AM

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Today's healthcare model requires that services be patient-centered. Additional challenges arise, though, when care needs to be coordinated among multiple providers. From 1999-2009, the number of primary care visits resulting in a referral increased by 159%. 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. Paper referrals often do not provide adequate information. In other cases, consult reports are not delivered in a timely manner. Many referrals do not even include transmission of information, either to or from specialists.

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Topics: Patient Satisfaction, Referral Workflow

6 Advantages of an Electronic Referral Network in Care Coordination

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 12/27/16 4:16 PM

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With coordination of care a major aspect of healthcare delivery, mistakes in the process lead to patient dissatisfaction or possibly worse. An excess of frustration in a patient's experience often leads them to pursue other primary care options. Fortunately, the emergence of electronic referral management technology can reduce errors significantly when referring to network specialists. The advantages of an electronic referral network can be seen and measured within those HCOs that adopted them early. As medical enterprises continue to implement the systems, better care coordination and happier patients will be the result.

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Topics: Coordinated Care, Referral Network, EHR

How to Create a Better Referral Workflow

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 12/19/16 1:50 PM

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As value-based care takes center stage in healthcare, primary care providers (PCPs) and specialists must find ways to eliminate communication deficiencies and share information more effectively to ensure a more well-rounded and positive patient experience. Strong quality scores, efficient operations, and credible customer service are no longer just admirable traits of a positive care coordination environment; they’re quickly becoming characteristics that define whether primary care succeeds or falls short in value-based care.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Referral Management, Referral Workflow

Is Your Practice Making These 6 Common Care Coordination Mistakes?

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 12/13/16 6:08 PM

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Care coordination missteps are damaging to providers across the healthcare industry and one huge, overarching mistake is apparent: not enough information is being shared. A study by Health Affairs shows that only 14% of physicians share information with providers outside of their organization.

Unfortunately, care coordination mistakes can be costly...and not just in terms of financial expenses. Some of the most common care coordination mistakes are also major culprits for death and exacerbated patient health problems. U.S. News & World Report indicates, “Medical errors are [the] third leading cause of death in the U.S. 10 percent of U.S. deaths are due to preventable medical mistakes.”

We’ve identified six areas of care coordination where many practices make mistakes -- check out what they are, and see how many apply to you.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Care Transitions, Referral Workflow

4 Flaws Crippling Modern Referral Workflows

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 12/8/16 6:45 PM

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An alarming number of primary care practices don’t have the staff required to proactively manage referrals. Medical assistant teams lack the capacity required to manage chronic care and quality programs, meet payor requirements, and hunt consult reports from specialists. As a result, these practices manually track referrals only when they are required to for regulatory requirements or internal referral initiatives.

The primary care practices that are proactively managing referrals are doing so with an overwhelming amount of expensive and manual workflow. Care coordinators are adding hundreds of hours to their workflow each month to ensure that patients are completing their appointment and that specialists are returning the clinical information needed for appropriate follow up.

In contrast, primary care practices that automate their referral workflow electronically are recovering up to 70% of their staff’s time [1] spent manually managing referrals.

Improved referral processes help practices meet value-based initiatives and devote time to programs that drive revenue—like preventative and chronic care management.

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Topics: Coordinated Care

Care Coordination is Broken and You Can Fix It

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 11/12/15 1:07 PM

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Care coordination is complex. Interoperability is far from reach. Patient information is difficult to track, especially when primary care physicians and specialists utilize different EHR systems. You need to stay competitive and make faster, smarter decisions. You want to fix these challenges, but you can’t because you don’t have the resources.

EHRs and practice management systems have referral order capability but are transactional and not built for true closed loop referral management. There is a difference between tracking and managing your patient referrals. So how are you going to manage health populations and improve patient care?

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Topics: Coordinated Care, Healthcare Analytics, Referral Network

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