The Treatspace Referral Management Blog

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

Improving Operations and Reducing Workflow Burden with Automated Referral Management

Posted by Christian Kratsas on 6/1/17 6:28 PM

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Inefficiencies in the patient referral process plague practices by increasing the administrative burden on providers and front-office staff. Internests and family practicioners dedicate nearly 20% of their time to administrative tasks1 while practice managers and medical receptionists can waste up to 30 minutes on the phone chasing down patient information2. According to a paper in the International Journal of Health Services, "more extensive use of electronic medical records [is] associated with a greater administrative burden."

Disconnected practices are struggling to exchange clinical information and communicate securely without interruptive phone calls and faxes. Referral partners on different EHRs are left with lackluster options, such as sending transitions of care and last office notes into a Direct Secure Messaging void with hopes of receiving a consult report back.

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Topics: Closed-Loop Referral Management, Referral Workflow, Referral Automation

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

Why PCPs and Specialists are Focusing on Automated Referral Workflow in 2017

Posted by Jeremy Guttman on 1/3/17 5:10 PM

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Relationships between PCPs and specialists are sacred. On average, a single PCP is connected to 68 specialists. However, lack of electronic connectivity makes it difficult to coordinate care and manage referrals—apart from hiring additional administrative staff.

Without patient referrals from PCP to specialist, it is estimated that only half as many patients would show up to their specialty care appointment1. Furthermore, “self-referral” patients who see specialists without recommendation from a PCP are associated with higher patient dissatisfaction and poorer continuity of care with the primary care doctor2. 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.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Referral Network, Referral Adherence, Referral Workflow

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

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