The process involved for paper referrals has long been a source of frustration for patients and providers. After a decision has been that a referral is needed, the patient is generally left waiting until they are contacted by the specialist’s office for appointment scheduling. The timing involved in this step alone can increase patient anxiety, which in turn leads to unnecessary phone calls and administrative time spent tracking down referral statuses.
Another flaw in current processes leaves primary care physicians less informed than the patients themselves immediately following the referral visit. Until correspondence is received by the primary location, all parties are again left waiting.
The addition of an Allscripts eReferral functionality provides a number of benefits from a coordination of care and quality standpoint for both patients and providers. The administrative advantages involved can also provide long term efficiency increases. The following goals should be considered as you contemplate an eReferral implementation.
- Speed of Communication – The reduced amount of time for transmission and receipt of the actual referral is most apparent here. The cumulative effects of time saved by the electronic transmission, reduced administrative effort, triage time reduction, and decrease in unnecessary follow up appointments are all impactful.
- Enhanced Decision Making – An increase in efficient provider interaction via eReferral messaging provides a much better platform for decision making than current processes demonstrate. This interaction can also bolster the referring physician’s repertoire and understanding of how to work up certain conditions.
- Reduced Appointment Scheduling Times – Intertwined with increased communication speed, cumulative effects of time saved by the electronic transmission, reduced administrative effort, triage time reduction, and decrease in unnecessary follow up appointments are all contributing factors to patients being seen in a more timely manner.
- Elimination of Duplicate Testing – The ability to easily send a comprehensive description of the current progression of a patient’s work-up greatly reduces the potential for tests to be repeated unnecessarily.
These factors are among the most prominent in the advantageous nature of an eReferral implementation. The significant increase in administrative efficiency, improvements in outcomes of care, and seamless interaction between involved caregivers an eReferral system can provide are all organizational upsides that warrant consideration.