Our lives are changing rapidly with the onset of technologies like Yelp and Google. In health care, building a physician referral network is becoming more and more important in managing patient’s expectations and the coordination of care.
A survey conducted by Fibroblast, a patient referral management company attempted to quantify how referral processes work and how these processes affect the delivery of care.
Approximately, 66% of patients did not receive the care that they needed when a referral was made. Patients that do not receive the care needed lead to an increased number of poor patient outcomes and millions of dollars in costs to healthcare organizations annually.
Care episodes are not complete when a patient completes a visit. Medical records need to be updated with notes, labs and test results to complete and an episode of care.
Referrals are a necessary part of everyday care yet, there is a wide range of volume in terms of referrals. Incomplete physician referral networks result in referrals being made to providers that the referring facility does not know very well.
Building relationships and a strong referral network garner patient trust. Since these relationships are foundational for high-quality care patients should be referred based on areas like insurance coverage, location and cost. Workflows are incomplete, redundant and repetitive.
Let’s explore a referral process and how we can build a physician referral network that ensures high-quality care and an improved patient experience.
We now communicate and share information in ways that push the envelope for change. We’re all still human and we have a need to connect our experiences while learning of new businesses and services.
Yelp receives a mobile review every 2.5 seconds. Retail, restaurants, airlines, spas, plumbers, mechanics are just a few examples of the companies that are listed on Yelp. Yelp is an interesting company that allow people to rate their experience in dealing with a business or service. The power of the internet is obvious now that people can share a comment causing the company to gain or lose fans based on a rating. Well, healthcare is changing and patient experience and finding a cardiologist near me is something that has always been important to all of us.
The power of the internet is obvious now that people can share a comment causing the company to gain or lose fans based on a rating. Well, healthcare is changing and patient experience and finding a cardiologist near me is something that has always been important to all of us.
An important part of a healthcare organization’s identity are online reviews. 84% of consumers turn to review sites to find a doctor.
As mentioned, referrals are the most important component of every healthcare organization. Unfortunately, facilities are reliant on outdated referral strategies, inconsistent manual processes and poor relationship networks to foster professional collaborations with providers in their locality.
Unfortunately, facilities are reliant on outdated referral strategies, inconsistent manual processes and poor relationship networks to foster professional collaborations with providers in their locality.
If you set up a referral from the onset it makes all of the difference in the quality of clinical outcomes and relationships with these providers.
If various members of the referral network benefit from the arrangement and you have check-ins and these can be in the form of meetings members of the network will want to maintain these working relationships.
Building a network of trusted professionals will allow you to expand your reach in caring for different types of patients. Providers will only require notification of your changing business requirements/goals and they will start sending over patients that need your services.
There are a few steps that you can take to building our network. Many times referrals workflows are handled by various members of staff using faxes and phone calls to transmit patient information and track referrals. Patients are lost in the system and patient care is compromised. A referral is not completed until the information between providers is exchanged.
Patient leakage is the result of poor coordination of care can lead to patients not receiving the care that they need.
Patients are lost in the system for three main reasons:
- the ‘referred to doctor’ did not respond to the patient quickly enough
- the doctor’s office was too far to travel
- the ‘referred to doctor’ is not accepting patients
We can start by drawing up a list of clinics in your area by considering the following.
Which facilities do you have good working relationships with?
Which facilities are using marketing effectively?
Are their local publications that advertise services?
What about content marketing?
Try using web searches to get a better understanding of who is actively advertising and publishing content.
Clinics need to find a physician and they perform their own due diligence. Below are steps that you can take to narrow down your selection of a specialist.
- Google – search for a specialty using
- Look at the picture – identify the picture and see if the picture is professional and appears to be someone you would like to work with.
- Yelp reviews – use Yelp reviews as these are based on patient feedback
- Sutter Healthgrades – reviews are important and it may seem unfair to doctors but, it protects the public. Transparency has brought things into perspective.
- Review the patient experience – like-minded specialist – doctors office calls patient and checks experience over time.
- Call doctor’s office – check to screen for professionalism. The way in which an office answers the phone can give you a good indication of whether or not you would like to refer to them.
Offering this is a service where a group acts a liaison connecting providers to patients. The aggregator would essentially develop relationships with providers while really getting to know who patients are being referred to.
One of the key problems is involving a dedicated team of staff members to actively manage referrals. Members of the care team known as referral coordinators manage the entire referral process and this requires considerable time.
Referral coordinators need to be great communicators who work well with providers and patients. This process requires the referral coordinator to be highly organized, familiar with the practice’s information system and workflow. Referrals must be followed and tracked to prevent patient leakage.
For assistance with referrals enquire about our referral network.