Hacking Referrals: 4 Ways to Get It Right

Referrals should not be left for the patient to make happen. Breakdowns and inefficiencies are inevitable when the process hinges on the patient following through on a slip of paper. How can we improve the specialty-referral process? Here are 4 ways to “hack” the process:

Make it digital 
Just by enabling online booking, referral lead times (i.e. time between a PCP and specialist office visit) decrease by up to 36%, and show rates improve by 20%. Additionally, on the spot booking to a specialist reduces patient leakage for health systems. It can guarantee that care is rendered by the best-suited physicians within a smart network.

Make it best-fit 
The most effective appointment maximizes show rates and minimizes lead times. A provider must select the preferred physician with the earliest availability at a time the patient is likely to show up. Optimized scheduling can yield up to a 5X increase in referral completion rates.

Make it measurable
The best way to improve referral completion rates and reduce lead times is to capture the relevant data points in a timely manner and track changes over time. Presenting the data in an easily consumable and actionable format is equally critical.

Connect the docs
To know if patients complete recommended visits, it is critical that all parties share the right information and facilitate two-way communication in real time. A primary care physician making a referral is far better equipped to manage a patient’s health if she receives show status and notes back from the specialist visit as soon as that information is entered into the specialist’s EHR.

These four hacks are part of our vision to make referral management more convenient, and more efficient for everyone. To learn more, please download our latest executive summary:  Convenience Drives Change: The Future of Referral Management.