Health systems, nationwide, are seeking ways to minimize revenue leakage. While there are many operational areas healthcare organizations target, referrals are low-hanging fruit and often overlooked. When you consider referral leakage can add up to millions of dollars lost every year, turning attention to closing referrals is an easy win. Some organizations isolate referral management which requires dedicated staffing and complex information sharing across operational systems. An alternative strategy being deployed by our friends at Froedtert Health leverages existing patient engagement technology to increase referral closures and stop revenue leakage.
A Case for Automating Referral Management
Closing referrals is both time-consuming and difficult. Conventional outreach relies on connecting by telephone, leaving a voicemail and waiting for a call-back. The delay in closing a referral can lead to patient disengagement, a gap in care, patient dissatisfaction and loss of clientele. Now, imagine the impact of thousands of open referrals across your patient landscape.
Froedtert Health’s Challenge
Referral orders are increasing at Froedtert Health. In order to meet the demand, staff members are taking time away from patients and other administrative duties to manage the referral load. Like many healthcare organizations, the Froedtert team is managing their referrals via phone, leaving a high volume of voice mails and waiting for responses. They are also experiencing a high rate of declining patient interest and there is no good way to alert providers to follow up with those patients at a later date.
Froedtert wants to leverage its EHR-embedded patient engagement technology to create a closed-loop workflow that simplifies the referral management process and produces positive patient outcomes.
Froedtert’s Automated Referral Management Solution
“We worked with Intrado HouseCalls Pro to develop a new workflow to accomplish this [referral management] with automated outreach. Our sponsors see the value in what we have been able to accomplish, and we are pleased to share that within a few weeks we expanded the initial deployment of three specialties to 30 specialties. We’re engaging more patients more efficiently, which is helping us achieve patient health and resource goals.” - Jessica Boutain, Senior Application Analyst, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin
Working with the team at Intrado to leverage their patient engagement platform, HouseCalls Pro, Froedtert devises a workflow to automate part of their referral management process. In addition to offering patients a way to connect with a live scheduler when it is convenient for them, the HouseCalls Pro solution increases the amount of time staffers spend scheduling appointments and decreases the time spent leaving voicemails. Automation embedded in the EHR further expedites the referral process by initiating and capturing calendar events directly in the patient’s health record. Plus, if patients do not engage with the referral outreach, that information is captured in the EHR, making it easier for providers to track the patient’s progress, identify gaps and initiate conversation and education-sharing to re-engage patients.
Here are highlights of Froedtert’s referral management workflow:
- Using custom automated messaging, patients are engaged via phone or text.
- The messages are sent by batch at 15-minute intervals to accommodate staffing schedules and workload.
- Patients can choose to auto-connect in real-time and schedule their referral.
- Since the workflow is embedded within the EHR, calendar appointments are automatically written back to the patient record.
- For patients not scheduled after receiving two automated messages, a manual task is created.
Valuable Referral Management Results
Within the first sprint, approximately 1,800 contacts are engaged by Froedtert Health using the HouseCalls Pro Referral Outreach tool. The automated workflow allows Froedtert to manage the outreach and scheduling, throttle engagement via phone, and write back patient responses to their EHR record for follow-up. Froedtert has turned a multi-week, leaky process into a 3-day referral-to-appointment workflow. They are scheduling more patients, more efficiently to reduce care gaps and no-shows, and stop revenue leakage. Since the initial deployment, Froedtert has expanded its automated referral workflow from three specialties to thirty.
Referral management is just one of multiple automated patient engagement workflows that HouseCalls Pro can perform to help health systems improve care delivery and provide a better patient experience. Contact us today to learn more about actionable appointment reminders, automated recall, self-scheduling, pre- and post-procedure communications, patient balance notifications, and more.