Thursday, May 8, 2008

Problems with Email Referrals

I've posted before about the benefits of email referrals and how in theory they will cut down on the amount of time a administrator needs to create accept the referral of a patient. It should also cut down on the error rate becasue there is less data copying.

The reality turns out to be less spectacular. When an email is sent referring a patient not all referring practioners include the relavent/needed information. Patient name, DOB, phone number and reason for referral at a minimum. The result is a call back rate of >50% to the referring practitioner then they still need to contact the patient. In addition, the patient needs to be contacted whereas, in phone referrals the patient is often standing right there to book the appointment at the same call.

Is it still worth it? Of course, because when down well it cuts down on workload especially on the part of the referring practitioner. The solution to our problems will revolve around sending out standardized referral forms and greater eduction. I'll post again with some stats as email referrals continues to evolve.

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