5 Referral Mistakes Physician Don’t Know They’re Making
There are many things that can be improved in the patient referral system. Many physicians do not even know they are making these mistakes. A problem cannot be corrected until it is noticed. One of the main issues with patient referrals is the communication methods. If there is only one method that is dependent on such as fax or EMR then that can cause problems. A great solution to this problem is using referralMD, which is a referral management platform. There are a couple top mistakes that physicians are making and below are ways to fix them.
Not Setting Goals or Expectations & Not Meeting Them
The primary physician has to set the standard on what should be expected from the referral process. This is when unanswered questions come into play and this can be a frustrating process. A way to solve this problem is to set the goals before referring the patient. At that point the patient will be able to ask all the questions that they need to help them better understand the process. Then, the physician’s office should contact the specialist and inform them on the situation too. This is a great time to receive feedback. The physician and specialist can discuss the length of the process, who will manage the patient, what work and paperwork is needed, and the communication standards. Using a professional network to manage these expectations is a great way to make sure things run smoothly.
Relying on Guesswork
There are times where questions are not asked, so guesses are made about the patient and the details. This can cause many problems and is a serious matter. The only one who will be affected negatively is the patient. When the proper paper work is not completed or the test results are not written down correctly during the referral process then incorrect treatment can be made for the patient. For patients who have extensive medical history, this can be a major problem. Double checking work and taking the extra time for the patient is necessary and there should be no guesswork.
The primary physician and specialist should have all the access to the patient’s files, there should not be any areas of confusion. Many healthcare offices have electronic medical records so this should not be a problem. When new information is added, then the files should be updated.
The Patient Should be Managed by the Primary Care Physician & Specialist
The lack of communication should not affect the patient. Before starting the referral agreement, the primary care physician and specialist should clarify who will be managing the overall care of the patient. It would be very contradicting if the physician was telling the patient one thing and the specialist was telling them another. In order to avoid this, a physician and specialist should create a referral agreement and that will clarify each role. For the health concerns of the patient the primary care physician should be the decision maker, with the consent of the patient, of course. Also, during the patients visit with the specialist, there should be an agreement that will explain how quickly consultants will take and when the primary physician can get the reports.
When the primary physician and the specialist have a problem with communication this is when mistakes will be made. This is also another important part of the referral agreement and if certain things are not clarified then the patients care is not of high quality. Relying on guesswork defeats the purpose of involving others in the referral process. The physician should refer a specialist to the patient because they have a good relationship and can be trusted with the patients care.
Delays in Patient Care
When the primary care specialist does not reach out to the specialist in a timely manner then that can just prolong the care of the patient. This is also another area where creating a referral agreement comes in to place. In the agreement, it should specifically write out how the communication will take place. Once the agreement is drafted and all parties agree to it then implementing the agreement is the next step. The primary care physician and specialist have to be organized and keep record of the agreement and decide if the agreement will work for future patients also. Both need to go over the expectations and needs.
It is also important to make sure all of this is done in a timely manner and that the patient is the number one who is being thought of. Including the referral online can also speed up the process and will benefit the patient. Also, by having the records online can ensure that everything is documented and that leaves no room for mistakes or problems with communication.
Article provided by Neches FCU, with locations in Port Neches, Nederland and Beaumont.
Neches FCU is a Texas credit union and has a courteous and attentive team of professionals ready to provide services to our members. When its doors open at any of the several service centers, the mission of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the imperative for every employee. They are respected for a personal, dynamic and upbeat work atmosphere, providing a memorable service experience, and where members are known by name.
Neches has approximately $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches FCU is considered by members and the business community as one of the best credit unions in Texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!