Why Does Reducing Lead Times Matter?

When ordered a referral, a patient should not be troubled to schedule the right appointment. The patient wants the soonest available time, at the closest available location, with the best available physician.

When scheduling a referral for a patient, the sending provider should not have to depend on catching a receiving coordinator on the telephone or whether or not the fax went through. The referring physician wants to confirm the soonest available time, at the closest available location, with the best available physician for each patient. The referring physician also should be notified if the appointment was kept, as well as the outcome of the visit.

When you have a unified approach, the challenges of the current system are eliminated. It makes it easier for people to access care. That is the ultimate goal, and with it comes an unexpected advantage. Reducing lead time – the period between the primary care visit and the specialty visit – is a benefit that is often overlooked. Here are three reasons why it is important:

Patient Experience:  The sooner the appointment is scheduled, the more likely the patient will attend the visit. Closing the care gap is critical as providers bear more risk in value based models. It also streamlines the referral coordinator experience by 400%.

Unnecessary Readmissions:  The sooner a patient is scheduled a follow up visit with a specialist, the less likely an unnecessary hospitalization or ED visit will occur. Read more how to reduce readmission penalties.

Outward Migration:  When its easy for organizations to schedule appointments into preferred systems, it ensures they stay in network for subsequent visits. Do you know how much network leakage costs?

Convenience and speed of the specialist referral process are major concerns for patients and primary care providers alike. Factors that decrease the efficiency of care delivery and make referrals less likely need to be replaced with a system that facilitates optimal and timely care for the patient.

To learn more about the power of online appointment scheduling to transform patient access, download our free guide.