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In the News: Patient Engagement HIT

The patient referral process in healthcare can be tedious and inefficient. With procedural hoops to jump through and the back and forth of playing phone tag, referrals are often delayed or even missed. Unsurprisingly, this pitfall can cause a negative impact down the line in the patient’s care journey and bog down staff from providing quality patient care. For example, in a given year, when more than 100 million specialist referrals were requested in the ambulatory setting, only half were completed.

One solution to this growing issue is the use of end-to-end, automated patient engagement technology. Recent advancements in this space mean the days of leaning on manual procedures to request and process patient referrals are gone. Plus, consumers don’t want to pick up the phone, either. They’re used to handling daily tasks instantly and digitally, and seek to manage their healthcare in a similar fashion. Because of this, top hospitals and health systems are leveraging the latest technologies to offer patients digital healthcare communication options and give staff members tools to manage referrals in a streamlined, automated fashion.

What does an automated referral process in healthcare look like?

Consider consumer retail interactions: individuals can choose their preferred mode of communication, process actions via text, email or live chat, and receive personalized follow-up. Much of this is done asynchronously. An automated, closed-loop referral process in healthcare is no different.

For example, Froedtert Health & the Medical College of Wisconsin implemented a closed-loop, automated referral management workflow that engaged patients via customized, automated SMS messaging or telephone calls. Froedtert was able to engage approximately 1,800 contacts, turning a multiweek process into a three-day referral-to-appointment workflow. Based on this success, the organization expanded its campaign from just three departments to more than 30 specialties within a matter of weeks.

Put the power back into the hands of the patient

Healthcare organizations can automate the process for patients to schedule their referrals using digitized communication – deploying customized, timely outreach via the patient’s preferred channel when the referral is ready to schedule. They can connect directly with a registrar to set their appointment without waiting on hold or experiencing multiple transfers. Additionally, these workflows can be integrated into the health system’s electronic health record (EHR) and data can be used to keep patients, staff, and clinicians in the loop along the referral closure path. This automated, closed-loop referral management workflow can streamline patient interactions and ultimately improve referral closure rates.

Leveraging patients’ preferred mode of communication with today’s advanced patient engagement technology to automate the referral process in healthcare is a win-win for patients and staff alike.

To learn more about how your organization can revolutionize its referral management process, check out our latest article in Patient Engagement HIT here.

“Adopting the HouseCalls Pro platform has endeared us to our operations and executive teams. ACPNY has implemented a variety of automated workflows and over twenty Epic-event-based messages. We also love the self-service capability and on-demand broadcast messaging.”

Venus Jones | Director, Revenue Cycle Systems
AdvantageCare Physicians

“Since adopting HouseCalls Pro to capture real-time, self-reported patient information via SMS and record that in Epic, we have continued to expand the use of automated workflows. The configurability of the system and the service provided has been excellent.”

Anthony Brown | Director, Application Services
Kettering Health Network

“Recently, a whole practice had to move. HouseCalls Pro provides tools that send reminders out, so we didn’t have a time delay to send out customized messages. We didn’t have to wait for TeleVox’s staff to build something. That helped our practice because we didn’t have to reach out to each patient to let them know where the new location was. Reaching out to each person would have cost a lot of money, so TeleVox’s system has saved us a lot of money. Everything ties into the finances. With this solution, we can utilize our time for other things. Our patient turnover would cost us in the long run if we weren’t utilizing the time slots and the follow-up program. Patients have come back, and we have made them aware that they need to be seen for things. The solution has definitely had a positive financial impact.”

Manager | Customer Interview Conducted by KLAS Research About ROI/Cost

“TeleVox’s greatest strength is customer service. When I have questions or need somebody to intervene, I get very good responses from my account manager. That individual is excellent and always checks on us to see whether there is anything they can do.”

Manager | Customer Interview Conducted by KLAS Research About Service and Support

“I really believe in the HouseCalls Pro product, and I regularly engage in networking with other people that use the system. I am a big fan of the platform and the framework on which the platform is built.”

Manager | Customer Interview Conducted by KLAS Research About Technology

The Patient Family Notifications workflow has helped a lot with logistics. Especially since we have limitations on people entering the hospital due to COVID protocols. It has really helped coordinate with rides. Family members drop the patients off and eventually they get the message that their family member is in recovery and know it’s time to head back into the hospital to pick them up. That is very helpful.

Claudia Andrade | Senior Applications Analyst
Cambridge Health Alliance
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