Proper physician referrals can be a valuable cost-saver for healthcare providers, but you may be surprised at how much of a guessing game it can be. According to a study by Kyruus, 62 percent of all misdirected referrals are caused by a lack of information on specialists.
A recent trend we’ve been following is the creation of mobile apps as a solution. With nearly 20 million “clinically inappropriate” referrals each year, physician referrals are due for a major upgrade.
Technology or Word of Mouth?
“What affects referral patterns? I’ll just be blunt: In some ways – convenience” says Dr. William Andereck, director of the Program in Medicine at the California Pacific Medical Center.
If convenience is so important, are healthcare systems making it easier for docs? Will more providers begin to modernize a process that historically hasn’t changed much?
At a recent American Medical Association meeting, CMS Chief Andy Slavitt mentions putting pressure on technology vendors to make referrals easier for physicians and improve value-based payments.
At MobileSmith, we’re starting to see mobile apps created not only for patient use, but for a hospital’s most valuable asset – its clinicians.
3 App Features to Simplify Physician Referrals
With code-free development technology, even marketing and line of business professionals are getting involved, reducing the burden from IT departments. Here are a few popular features we’ve seen so far:
- Physician directories with info on training, certifications, memberships, and specialties
- Information on active clinical trials
- Access to physician-to-physician hotlines straight from the app
Example: The Iowa Clinic’s Physician Referral Directory
As a convenience, the team at the Iowa Clinic created a simple physician referral app using the MobileSmith platform. Their staff can:
- Locate physicians by name, specialty, and location
- View physicians that are on-call, access urgent care contact info for emergencies
- Create new versions for both iOS and Android without mobile developers
Many specialists, from physicians to dentists, are still dissatisfied with the referral process and lack of electronic referral technology. With ACA goals like improving the quality of healthcare, expect to see more innovation to come.