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    Why Streamlined Patient Referral Management Could Help Healthcare Recover from Financial Loss in a Post-COVID World

    By Hannah Drake • January 27, 2021
    Patient referral in clinic

    To say that COVID-19 greatly impacted healthcare is the understatement of the year, or perhaps decade. 

    On top of obvious direct costs associated with the pandemic, there are significant indirect impactslost revenue that would have normally come from voluntary, non-urgent healthcare visits, such as surgeries and well-checks.

    The numbers tell a compelling story:

    Getting patients back on track is important to not only their health, but the financial health of large health systems. Managing referrals well means more that using an Excel sheet or handing out a list of preferred providers: factors such as availability, insurance acceptance, location, and patient satisfaction must be considered for any list to be helpful to an individual patient. Then, there is making sure an appointment is scheduled and making sure a patient is not lost to follow up. That's why now is the time to invest in patient referral management solutions like par8o CareCompass.

    Patient Referral Management Software Basics

    A patient referral solution should perform a few primary functions at minimum:

    1. Keep patients in-network when appropriate.

    2. Make it easy for offices to track patient referral statuses and communicate with referral partner offices.

    3. Give leadership a clear picture of referral patterns and system dynamics.

    4. Have a patient engagement mechanism that encourages patients to attend upcoming appointments.

    If you can achieve these four things, then you can keep patients (and the related healthcare spend) within a particular healthcare network, help facilitate appointment scheduling, and empower referral teams to follow up at the right time with patients who haven't yet scheduled that non-urgent surgery or specialist visit. 

    Further, adding that personal touch to patient engagement will pay dividends to patient loyalty: More than ever, patients want to feel that they are not just another number or name on your appointment list. A phone call from your referral team that says "I noticed you haven't yet scheduled your upcoming podiatry appointment, is your foot still bothering you?" could mean all the difference - and related appointments at your facilities.