As many as 50 percent of patient referrals are never completed.
Sometimes it’s due to a communication breakdown between doctors and patients. Sometimes patients simply forget to schedule or keep a referral appointment.
The result is that patients don’t get the care they need. And they are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital and have worse outcomes than patients who attend specialist appointments.
When patients fail to complete their referral appointments, hospitals suffer too. For nearly half of health systems, patient leakage results in more than 10 percent of annual revenue losses. Moreover, incomplete referrals mean slots go unused in specialists’ schedules. Analysts predict that by the year 2023, there will be a shortage of more than 65,000 specialists. Leaving unused time in their day wastes valuable resources.
We launched WELL Referrals Management to improve the referral workflow and reduce patient leakage. Our platform helps office staff schedule appointments and helps patients keep them. Coupled with WELL’s powerful automation engine and appointment reminders, it creates a concierge patient experience.
Improving patient referral workflow
WELL created its new Referrals Management system to automate the referral communication process. Here’s how it works:
- After a provider places a referral order in the EHR, the patient receives an invitation to book an appointment. WELL sends it through the patient’s desired communication method (text, phone, or email) from the referred specialist.
- If a patient responds yes, the specialists’ office can continue the conversation via text, call, or email to set up the appointment.
- If a patient gives no response, the message can be repeated. This is where WELL’s powerful automation engine really shines. You can configure messaging to be sent out at custom intervals depending on the needs of your practice.
- If a patient says no or doesn’t respond to the final message, WELL will send this response back to the EMR, closing the referral. From there, staff can personally reach out to the patient to schedule the appointment. As few as five percent of patients actually respond no.
Powerful automation engine
After patients schedule their appointment, WELL sends automated appointment reminders at custom intervals. The value of completely configurable messaging cannot be overstated. Your staff doesn’t need to lift a finger to keep patients engaged in their care and more likely to show up for their appointment. No batch uploads. And no waiting for your patient communication vendor to answer your support ticket.
Additionally, because WELL offers conversational texting, patients can respond with questions. Chatbots answer common questions, such as “Where are you located?” When patients have more in-depth questions, staff can easily enter the conversation as needed.
Benefits of improved patient referral workflow
WELL Referrals Management can reduce staff workload significantly. Staff spend countless hours on the phone trying to reach patients to schedule their referral appointments, sometimes calling multiple times for a single appointment. WELL Referrals Management eliminates these calls, reducing staff workload significantly.
Our messages have a 99.9 percent delivery rate. They’re never waylaid by a patient not picking up the phone or being on vacation. Even when patients miss a call, WELL reaches out multiple times to ensure a patient receives the message. The improved consistency makes your patient referral workflow even more effective.
Appointment reminders have the potential to reduce no-shows by more than 50 percent. For example, Mountain View Medical Center in Oregon reduced no-shows by 54 percent after implementing WELL. Eisenhower Health in Southern California saw similar reductions in no-shows.
Automating the initial outreach allows your staff to focus on the most critical patients and quickly close the referrals that don’t require followup. WELL Referrals Management helps stop patient leakage and frees up your providers and staff to do what they do best — care for patients. ♥