Five Referral Mistakes That Puts Your Patients at Risk
The patient referral system today is outdated, rampant with issues of care that can be corrected. The main issue with physician referrals is that doctors don’t even realize the mistakes they are making! Addressing system issues requires a more effective platform for the staff, patients, and physicians alike.
If your Optometry practice is still using antiquated one-way communication methods like fax, e-fax, or, your EMR to file referrals away and not communicate with other providers in real-time, it’s time to make a change.
Here are 5 mistakes you can avoid with a streamlined referral platform.
- Poor Communication – During the referral process, referring doctors can miss out on valuable patient information. Many times vital symptoms and findings from initial tests are often not sent with the referral order, leading to delays, confusion and frustrations that could have otherwise been avoided.
- Team disconnects – There should be documentation in the patient chart indicating the referred-to doctor. Many times, the patient loses the referral sheet and calls back the office for a replacement. If there is disconnect in the team, this will create a lot of confusion and make you and your team appear incompetent.
- Referral Data Tracking – As referrals flow in and out of the practice, it is difficult to track the exact number. It is also tedious to track the number of referrals in various statuses and to close referral loops.
- Follow-ups – Many doctors do not follow-up after they’ve referred a patient to a specialist. They place the responsibility of scheduling a specialist visit with the patient. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, follow-up does not happen in 50-60% of referrals that are made, putting patients at risk.
- Delays – The patient faces extended delays between the time the referral is sent and the time at which the actual appointment is made. As mentioned previously, delays and frustrations with the scheduling process can cause patients to avoid making an appointment, or they may ultimately cancel an existing appointment if the wait is too long.
Streamlining the referral process will solve most of the inbound and outbound referral challenges for Eye Care Providers. A professional referral management program will save time for everyone involved.
By improving the speed at which a patient’s care is offered, your practice could see increased satisfaction from patients and an increase in referrals to your organization from your existing list of patients and specialists.
Not to mention, having your referral program online can help cut out unnecessary paperwork, communication, tracking, and management that could also slow down the overall patient care process.
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