The best way to increase patient referrals is to ensure that referrers’ patients are seen promptly and that their reports are delivered in a timely manner. The second best way is to make it easy for your patients to book appointments, while providing a personalized experience that doesn’t involve them feeling like a part of a cattle call being moved through your center. Referrers may like how fast you turn around the report, but patients may hate how they’re treated; and you’ll have to balance both to increase patient referrals. With that said, below are five ways to help you increase patient referrals.
5. Eligibility Checking and Verification of Benefits
The last thing patients want to hear when they’re standing at your front desk is that they’re ineligible for the appointment. That’s why it’s imperative to invest in a RIS that enables you to track eligibility and authorization expiry dates, so you can determine eligibility at the time of the appointment and collect any copays or coinsurance when they’re seen, rather than billing later. Doing the legwork takes a load off patients and referrers, which will lead to increased patient referrals.
4. Report Turnaround Time
With the Internet, we’ve become the “Now Generation,” where no one wants to wait for anything, and we all want it, whatever it is, just the way we like it, and NOW! So if a referrer wants a specific template used for all reports and to have these reports delivered via fax or an email link, your RIS should be able to provide this. There’s no reason your RIS can’t provide customizable templates for each referrer that automatically load when transcription or your radiologist creates the report with speech understanding/voice recognition. Delivering what your referrers want, when and how they want it, will lead to increased patient referrals.
3. Referring Physician Online Access and Apps
Referrers want a variety of ways to access their patient data. Does your RIS enable referring physicians to access patient reports and images online or via an app on their smartphone? There’s no reason why secure (HIPAA compliant) online access can’t be provided if a referrer wants it. Offering a variety of ways for referrers to access patient data—fax, email, online portals, apps—is the best way to demonstrate your leadership in the imaging world, and ultimately reinforce the fact that you can meet your referrers’ needs. Being a leader is essential to increasing patient referrals.
2. Microsoft HealthVault
Does your RIS offer a patient portal or a connection to Microsoft’s HealthVault? Patients are a part of the “Now Generation” too and they want to be able to track their medical records for sharing with other doctors involved in their care, while storing these records all in one place. With HealthVault your patients can see what’s sent to referrers and provides a platform for everyone to be on the same page. Making it easy for referrers and patients is key to increasing patient referrals.
1. Meaningful Use
Although Meaningful Use reimburses you, it’s still a key way to increase patient referrals. Meaningful Use is an excellent way to help with going paperless by receiving electronic orders from your referrers and delivering the report to your referrers and patients electronically. Microsoft’s HealthVault can be used as one of the core set objectives to deliver an electronic copy of their record to patients that request this. Meaningful Use is an excellent way to enhance patient care and increase patient referrals by coordinating care for your patients among all providers.
If these five things don’t help to increase patient referrals at your center then perhaps you should look into bribes like lunch incentives for your referrers and patients. I’m kidding. Seriously, just adding one of the five will definitely help to increase patient referrals. If your RIS/PACS doesn’t offer any of the five, it’s time to invest in a new RIS.