Posted on December 10, 2019 in General
Today, every medical care facility wants to improve the quality of service and efficiency for patients. And why wouldn’t they? The healthcare sector, after all, is just beginning to understand the vitality of a great referral management system. It is no wonder that the healthcare industry wants to implement and streamline administrative activities that would allow them to accumulate a comprehensive profile of the patients.
Research indicates clearly that hospitals and healthcare centers maintain a highly sophisticated digital medical record for an entire year. In fact, this trend to strive for a structured and collective method to document patients’ details is a plausible move. Interestingly, the annual ‘State of Marketing’ report highlights the fact that 70% of healthcare providers want to improve the connectivity of the patients’ journey that has a direct relationship with customer satisfaction.
The fact remains, referral management has always been a crucial element that derives and modifies patients’ journeys. That said, not all referral management strategies are successful. Medical centers need to continuously cater to the needs of the patients in a specified period.
What Exactly is Referral Management
Whether you operate a small or large medical center, the goal of a referral management system is to increase the quality of care, transparency-level, decrease operational redundancies, and increase current processes.
A referral management system signifies the robust capabilities of a healthcare provider to track, monitor, and maintain patients’ referrals for a long time. The objective of an effective referral management system is to boost communication between healthcare providers, expert physicians, and patients.
What Makes Referral Management So Important
Referrals combine an inflection point for healthcare centers to find out the next measure of success for their clinical objectives. Ultimately, it allows you to plan, design, and gather available information. What’s even more interesting is that today’s medical care centers also utilize referrals to connect to a bigger competitive network through layered electronic medical record systems (EMRs).
An excellent referral management system for patients, on the other hand, represents a heightened or acceleration experience in care. In this day and age, patients want to experience care without added navigational burden. In simple terms, patients don’t want to get caught in the cobweb of details.
Here are some of the most effective strategies you can implement to guarantee the success of your referral management solution
- Decrease Lead Time
Operational gaps in the healthcare centers impact the quality of the care. The extraneous long lead times create hindrance for patients and medical care centers. Sure, some issues might always persist. But it doesn’t mean healthcare providers shouldn’t invest in a referral management system to save precious time on various processes.
Primary care providers (PCPs), for instance, regularly refer patients to experts without considering factors that might deem the visit unnecessary or non-beneficial for patients. In fact, research shows that more than 65% of the referrals are unnecessary. Consequently, these long wait period leads to poor health care. Your goal should be to cut out the exhaustive waiting time for patients who do visit a specialist.
- Consistently Upgrade Directory
Maintaining patients’ up-to-date information is a difficulty that every healthcare center ultimately faces. Without keeping an upgraded data, referrals can be sent to the wrong healthcare providers at different geographical locations.
Now, healthcare centers can get data from the EMR, online directories, credential mechanisms, and a CRM solution. Ideally, your referral management system should be able to integrate available information from numerous sources to build a single point of entry for data.
For the sake of continuity, your referral management platform can manage a multitude of entries through a decentralized method. The flexibility of a decentralized network would enable you to view and edit specific data entries at any given time.
- Utilize Analytical Metrics for Referrals
Over the years, the healthcare sector has learned that weekly analytical reporting is of utmost significance for patients. A successful referral management system showcases referral patterns. With the help of these patterns, you would be able to find where referrals are sent and find out about the conversion rate of patient appointments.
Remember, this information helps healthcare centers to realize the immediacy of accessibility for patient’s needs. Furthermore, custom real-time analytical data assists medical care centers to recognize service line problems and pinpoint lacking elements in customer service.
- Communicate with Influencers
Here’s the thing, without broad buy-in from every aspect of a healthcare center, implementing modifications to a referral system becomes highly impractical. And that’s because healthcare centers want to engage for optimal results.
Typically, medical care centers have the power today to select the culture and priorities that would represent the entire healthcare sector. It is suggestive the state of clinical immediate of the patient referral ultimately impacts how fast the patient must be seen. This potency of accuracy and consistency is interconnected with patient access.
Although healthcare providers don’t have anything to do with referral follow-through, their willingness to continuously engage is crucial. That said, there are far too many “urgent” referrals, which make it harder for specialists to tend to patients’ needs. Therefore, you should include different levels of urgencies to enhance the capability for patients to be seen or visible in a suitable time.
- Keep an Eye on Competitors’ Referral Management Patterns
The majority of the referral management system is fixated only on enhancing communication between healthcare centers and patients. And that’s fair. Your referral management system, however, should provide network analysis and recognize the pattern of competitors’ referral system.
The accessibility to competitors’ referral patterns allows medical centers to maintain a more robust patients’ network. Furthermore, it’ll allow you to find and compare strengths and weaknesses in a competitive market.
To make things easier, you can always visualize your competitors’ analytical data and referral patterns for better comparisons. The need for a robust competitive referral management solution will help you analyze other competing healthcare providers in your city. Mainly, you’ll be able to view “who” and “where” your competitors send or receive patients.
- Combine Referral Management with Clinical Operations
Leading medical care centers are aware of the fact that referral management usually can affect the clinical workflow in a variety of ways. A referral management system is even more vital for healthcare centers that develop patients’ value-generation care models. These medical care centers ultimately need an integrated communication system that can keep the standard quality of care for every patient.
The best course of action for healthcare centers would be to integrate the medical record systems EMR, which might have more than just one component. Your medical record system may have a trigger, convenient adoption into the current workflow, and data integration. A trigger, for example, is automatically wired into your EMR and starts the referral process within your dedicated referral management solution.
The best thing for healthcare centers should be to avoid changing their current workflow. As a result, your referral solution would be able to read data like an insurance plan, EMR-generated lab results, and even deliver documents related to patient care.
Also, don’t lose sight of the compatibility of EMR integration for your healthcare center. As ideal as it may be, it is not viable to integrate under a situation where the medical care center has several independent groups on different EMRs. So long as you have the access and features are integrated into your referral management system, it can still be advantageous. The point is to import patient and healthcare center information to decrease the double-entry errors.
- Don’t Forget to Engage with Patients
Patients deserve to have experience quality care and diagnosis. It also represents a need and distinct opportunity for healthcare centers to offer professional patient care. You must adopt the right strategies to make sure patients have a better understanding and visibility of their care. Patients want to take a sigh of relief when their continuous care is solely in the hands of a healthcare provider. Also, it will cut any hurdles that might prevent patients from going to the appointment of a suggestive specialist.
Yes, healthcare centers tend to tailor their patient engagement strategies as per their needs. A healthcare center, for instance, can keep an eye on improving the visibility for the patients to help them form realistic expectations about their care. In essence, this strategy usually comprises a shared dialogue and decision-making. It practically allows patients to create a timeframe, decide proper specialists based on clinical requirements, and accept insurance.
In addition, appointment notifications can also help patients remember appointments with a lot of information. Similarly, textual information, email, and phone notifications make it highly convenient for patients to verify, modify, or cancel an appointment.
Conclusion: The Ideal Referral Management Solution
It is undeniable that an effective referral management system inherently boosts patients’ accessibility. Naturally, patients should have complete control when it comes to scheduling appointments on their own. The need for in-person appointments has become obsolete because patients can now communicate with healthcare providers online.
An ideal referral management solution should be able to cut down patient leakage and generate a return on the investment. Besides, the longer-term growth of an efficient referral management system is in the interest of the healthcare providers and patients.