A patient referral management system is a tool or application that allows healthcare professionals to make, manage, and track patient referrals. Its main purpose is to facilitate and streamline communication among all the different healthcare providers a patient sees as a part of their treatment.ChartRequest. From our AES multilayered encryption to our HIPAA-compliant workflows, you’ll help your organization safeguard protected health information (PHI).
For patients, being referred to a specialist is an important step in their healthcare journey. It indicates that the primary care physician doesn’t have the resources to treat their illness, injury, or condition. Because this frequently has an emotional impact, patients understandably want the best treatment as soon as possible.
For primary care physicians, referrals ensure a patient gets the specialized help they need. A PCP is responsible for making sure the specialist they’re referring a patient to provides the necessary services to diagnose and treat the patient’s condition.
Traditionally, managing referrals has been a task that front-desk staff — or, in larger organizations, referral coordinators — performed manually. However, they often have to deal with demanding time constraints, as well as a range of different health information management systems. These challenges can cause a lack of information sharing between primary care providers and specialists.
Consequently, specialists aren’t always provided with the reason for a referral or sufficient information regarding what type of diagnostics have been performed, as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports. At the same time, primary care physicians don’t always receive feedback from specialists regarding the care provided as a result of the referral visit.
In fact, experts estimate that 50 percent of patient referrals remain incomplete each year. Incomplete referrals can lead to diagnostic error — which can lead to severe harm to patients and result in costly lawsuits for healthcare providers.
Referral management solutions that streamline the referral process and ensure smooth communication between healthcare providers can improve this situation.
A 2018 study assessed the impact of a referral management solution on the referral management process of a group of primary care practices. The results were telling: 76.8 percent of the 1,341 referrals initiated during the study were actually completed. Moreover, healthcare staff found that when using the solution, the steps of the referral process were easier to complete.
Another issue related to poor referral management is referral leakage — or the loss of a referral because the patient sees a specialist outside of a hospital’s network. A robust referral management tool can provide primary care physicians and other referring providers with visibility of the specialists in their network so they can refer patients accordingly.
It’s evident that with a good referral manager that offers robust data sharing and communication tools, it becomes easier to provide quality healthcare throughout the care continuum. And that in turn contributes to an improved patient experience.
At ChartRequest, it’s our business to facilitate HIPAA-compliant health information exchange as a part of our medical records services. In response to popular demand, we’ve now expanded our solutions to include the referral management process.
We asked our clients for input on what their needs were in regard to the referral process. Using this data, we designed a robust referral management application that streamlines the workflow and facilitates continuity of care
When combined with our medical record fulfillment software, it’s a powerful all-in-one solution for release of information and referral management.
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