Is Your Process for Retrieving Records for Referred Patients Efficient?

eHealth Technologies Blog: Steve Malta, Regional Vice President, eHealth Technologies

Managing patient referrals from outside your health system can be a challenge when it comes to accessing patient medical histories. There is so much data that is often needed to schedule and prepare for an initial appointment.

Is the process you use to manage incoming patient referrals as efficient as it could be? How long does a patient have to wait for an appointment?

An inefficient process could be costing your department a loss in potential revenue from new patients, contributing to clinician frustration and burnout, and negatively impacting your patient satisfaction levels.

Below are five things every department leader should be thinking about to ensure patients referrals are handled efficiently:

1. Time staff spends retrieving medical records for referred patients.

Staff have to first determine where the records reside, locate contact information for that office or hospital, then start sending out requests. Instead of spending hours a day making follow-up phone calls to track down a patient’s records, your staff could spend just a few minutes per patient to submit a patient record request through the eHealth Connect® online system

2. Time it takes to receive a comprehensive patient medical record, including images, pathology, and all relevant information for a referred patient.

Making the request for records is just the beginning of this time-consuming process. After that your staff has to wait for a response – that could take up to 10 days. How many follow-up calls do you need to make to ensure they are working on your request? Our customer service support team can remove that burden from your staff. Our typical turn-around-time to retrieve medical records is as little as one to five days

3. Clinician has access to all patient information for a productive first appointment, without any repeat testing or missing records.

If certain records or images can’t be found or the source of the records won’t respond to requests, your staff may be forced to schedule the patient anyway and see them without that critical information. Patients may have to have repeat tests or come back after your department has more time to track down and obtain the missing records. This negatively impacts your time to treatment and frustrates your clinicians and patients. Our team is a dedicated resource you can use to continue to follow-up, on a daily basis, until all the necessary records are obtained

4. Clinical teams sort through hundreds (or even thousands) of paper faxes when records come in.

Many health organizations spend too much time sorting through pages and pages of incoming papers faxes every day. These pages typically have to become part of the patient’s official record and be scanned and uploaded to the EMR. eHealth Technologies’ opens in a new windowStreamlined Integration Services eliminates this cumbersome process by retrieving, organizing, and delivering medical records and images directly to your EMR and PACs system for easy access by your clinical team. Our services can help you avoid the time-consuming and costly process of QA’ing, downloading images from CDs, then uploading to your PACS system

5. Time spent reviewing records by the clinical team.

Searching through hundreds of pages can be time consuming for your clinical staff. How long does it take them to find the most pertinent information they need? With eHealth Technologies’ opens in a new windowIntelligent Clinical Record services records are “indexed” and provided in a searchable format, with key terms highlighted, in chronological order by record type. Clinical teams share that “indexed” records save them time and make it easier for them to find the information they need.

It is possible for the management of medical records to help to grow patient volumes, improve patient satisfaction ratings, and improve clinician and staff satisfaction. As we work with hospitals across the country our customized solutions may differ from facility to facility, but one thing remains constant: eHealth Technologies is a partner that you can rely on to help your team focus on what’s more important – taking care of the patient.