Electronic Patient Referrals – New Tech Replacing Old Tech

Many times we come across some challenges in our organization’s health care system and we wish there was a better way to manage patient data. Our healthcare system is constantly changing to improve the quality of patient care, reduce overall costs and medical errors, and make it more efficient to use for the end user. Old fashion pen and paper is going away and we are slowly transitioning to more advanced electronic medical records.

Introductions: Lucine Kenderjian – Registered Nurse I’ve been a registered nurse for over 9 years now working at different hospitals; I can tell you that health care has definitely been progressing. We are still going through changes every day to improve our systems to make it more efficient and safe for patients and staff. We use an electronic medical record, called Meditech at Children’s Hospital of Central California for couple of years now and we have added and deleted programs to make it more useful and effective.

Change is sometimes hard for those who are used to doing things the same way. It’s scary and frustrating but eventually we all get used to it and learn to adapt We are constantly modifying Meditech but we are still having challenges about how we process the referrals. We don’t have a system in place to track our referrals and many times our patients get readmitted to the hospital because of missed appointments or the doctor’s office didn’t call them back or they don’t have a PMD. We bin our referrals in the Meditech system hoping the patients will get notified when the appointments are made but a lot of times they don’t get followed through to the referring doctor so it delays patient care, increases hospital stay time, and in return increases cost. For non-profit hospitals, these delays can mean not being reimbursed, so we end up helping the patient for free.

I spent a few hours at one of our clinics with the referral coordinator Martha, a designated staff who exchanges referrals on a daily basis. I could see her frustration when she voiced her concerns about the process. Even though we transitioned to EMR, we are still doing referrals on paper faxing. Her day consisted of hours and hours of going back and forth to the fax machine, follow up phone calls to make sure the fax got through, making appointments, faxing forms, calling the doctors back to verify missing information, waiting for a call back from a referring doctor, sifting through piles of papers, organizing them, filing them for eight hours a day every day is exhausting and prone to errors. During our interview with Martha, she said she wished she had more time doing other things like helping patients more; maybe her job wouldn’t be so repetitive and frustrating.

There has got to be a better way, we thought. What about the patient confidentiality? What if the fax went to someone else with private patient information, HIPPA rules? Delaying patient treatment; amount of dollars spent mismanaging the referrals could be used to pay the staff higher salaries or lower patient health costs? and what about the patients’ health?

The current paper based process is not cost effective, safe, or easy for our staff to manage. These are the questions that are going through my mind.

Personal family experience with paper referrals forms I’ve had experiences with taking my family members to a doctor’s appointments where we had to wait several weeks to get an appointment with a referring doctor. The primary physician referred my grandmother to three different specialists before they schedule her for a surgery. After several visits to different doctors’ offices, I still had to make multiple phone calls to follow up with each doctor to make sure they sent her records back to the surgeon so they can schedule her surgery.

The communication between them is broken, they had lost her files. When I called the surgeon’s office to find out about the status, the nurse told me we are still waiting for them to fax the test results before we can proceed. I called back the urology clinic and I got a different answer. We were told that she needed another appointment for one more test that was scheduled from the previous appointment but didn’t get done and they didn’t have any appointments for three more weeks unless they get a cancellation. I was very upset.

My grandmother has been very anxious to get this surgery done ASAP because she couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore and now we find out it’s going to be delayed even longer. As a nurse, I felt helpless and frustrated with the system but yet I couldn’t do anything about it except to keep calling and follow up with a doctors to make sure things were getting done. If there was a system available in place for referrals where all these can be done electronically then patients will get better care, doctors’ offices will be able to communicate better and operate more efficiently. 200,000 patients die every year in the United States due to inaccurate or latent referrals.

Most of the healthcare practitioners in the United States are still using the antiquated fax machine and triplicate forms to transmit referrals. We need to raise awareness of newer technologies such as Electronic Referral Manager, to make it better for patients and the staff that manages the referral process.

Leads, Referrals and Recommendations Defined

Business growth lies in the ability to share leads, referrals and recommendations. Unfortunately some people do not understand the difference in the quality of each action.

Introducing Ponn’s Power Pun: You must Power Network to build a Power Network. Basically, the action of networking with power will allow you to build a powerful network of power people that will help you achieve your goals.

Here’s the difference:

o A lead points you in the right direction towards reaching your goal.

o A referral is a name of someone who can help you reach your goal.

o A recommendation (personal contact from your power network) is a secured path towards goal attainment.

As a foreclosure and short sales specialist, here’s some examples:

o A lead was advice to join Real Estate Investors Association so I can offer my specialized services.

o A referral was any investor given to me because they are interested in buying distressed homes. This person may be actively looking but not committed to me or my services.

o A recommendation (personal contact from my power network) was an investor who was told and convinced to only work with me, because I will give them exactly what they want, when they need it, and hopefully enjoy my company as well.

As you can see, you become more personally involved by sharing the different levels of human-equity tips. This is why I am extremely careful when I share recommendations. While I dish out leads and referrals all the time, I know my reputation is at stake when it comes to my personal and professional recommendations.

Another important point towards building your power network is understanding the distinct difference between talking your business in 30 seconds or less, and promoting someone else’s (which is what you’re doing in giving a referral or recommendation). Given the time constraints, master your business first.

True power lies when your can do both at the same time. Your business will begin to soar when people turn to you for a quality referral or recommendation, and they only recommend you and your services.

Pretty powerful, huh?

One more quick tip: Ponn’s Power lies in the ability to do things right now. So, get up and Power Network Now!

(c) 2005 Ponn M. Sabra, MPH

Tips To Find A Dermatology Specialist

A dermatologist is a physician who is trained to evaluate and manage pediatric and adult patients with benign and malignant disorders of the skin, hair, nails and adjacent mucous membranes. A dermatologist has had additional training and experience in the cosmetic disorders, dermatopathology, and can diagnose and treat skin cancers, diseases and conditions of the skin.

Most people find a dermatologist through referrals from family and friends or through marketing channels like, social media, television, radio and print. Finding the right dermatologist may be hard because there are many. When searching for a dermatologist look for their educational background, experience, and the licenses they hold. Every dermatologist must be certified by the American Academy of Dermatology. Some dermatologists attended an accredited medical school and had up to 11 years of specialized training.

Another great way for finding the right dermatologist is asking your doctor. Your doctor is a member of professional organizations and may know someone he/she can refer you to. Once you’ve found one, visit their office and talk to someone in the front desk about your concerns. The administrative assistant will direct you to the right dermatologist and will brief you on their background. Also ask if they have a patient referral program where existing patients can speak with a potential patient about their experience. Check their website for the services they offer and look for a photo gallery that shows before and after of actual patients.

First consider why you’re going to see a dermatologist. Do you have acne, moles, or a rare skin disease? Some dermatologists specialize in certain areas in dermatology and you may want to see one that specializes for your concern. Utilize the internet. Search for the dermatologists name and see how they rate among their patients. There are many sites dedicated to rating medical doctors with a rating system and additional comments made by patients.

If you have health insurance, check what your plan covers and if the dermatologist accepts your health insurance. For those that do not have health insurance, find a community health center to fit your budget. Most doctors in a community health center will help treat less serious skin conditions. Every dermatologist will charge differently based on their services, treatments, location, amount of experience, and the follow up care. All these points mentioned should be taken seriously before setting up an appointment with a dermatologist.

After finding a dermatologist that suits your needs, consider the following specific points:

• Is the dermatology specialist dealt with the type of problem you are seeking assistance with previously?
• Are there any alternative courses of treatments the doctor recommends?
• In case the initial course of treatment is ineffective, are there any other alternatives available to you?
• Are there any chances for a particular course of action to worsen your condition?

Making the Right Choice For Your Loan Modification Specialist

Personal recommendation and referral is still the best way to find a reliable, trusted financial advisor, especially for a matter as vital to your well-being as a loan modification specialist for your mortgage. You may not know anyone who has used such a service before, or your fear of what others may think of your situation may be keeping you from seeking the help you need. In any case, there are methods you can use to find the right specialist.

Real estate agents may be of assistance in finding your specialist. Often they know legal professionals experienced in negotiations with lenders. You want to find a trusted guide on information ranging from foreclosure, to bankruptcy, perhaps, to contract negotiations.

Many borrowers are afraid to admit to their lenders that they are in financial straits. However, a talk with the branch officer at your lending bank could lead to a referral to a reputable specialist. It couldn’t hurt to ask, really, and your lender might even have other kinds of advice to offer you — they see all kinds of situations involving stressed borrowers, and they don’t want to foreclose unless they absolutely have to.

Looking for your specialist via the state Bar Association could work, too. Seek an attorney who has experience in dealing with situations such as yours. A law firm specializing in foreclosures may have information on loan modification that can avoid a foreclosure on your home, or might even refer you to a lawyer that one of their clients has used.

After you have spent time on research, narrow your list down to the three most likely prospects. Now contact them, describing your situation, and see if they can help. Get to know the attorney before you provide identifying details such as your Social Security number, state driver’s license number, mortgage identifier, and other line of credit information such as credit card numbers. And never divulge such identifying information over the phone.

Exercise on Referral & Mind Coaching – From GP Exercise Referral to a Happy Fulfilled Life!

What Is Exercise On Referral?

Very simply, it is the process of your General Practitioner (GP), referring you to an exercise professional or you may even request to be referred yourself. There are a number of why someone would be referred to exercise, such as weight loss, to build muscle, rehab after an illness or injury, high blood pressure, stress, diabetes type I and II or if the GP feels that the patient needs to exercise more, for fitness purposes.

The good thing about the process is that the doctor you originally saw will most likely have kept background notes, which they will forward directly to the exercise referral co-ordinator or exercise professional. Therefore, there is excellent fluidity between the two professionals. The two can then liaise more freely with each other throughout the patients entire programme. This forms a comfortable support system for you, in which you should feel free to communicate openly to all professionals involved.

You should be aware that there are some contraindications for exercise on referral schemes, for example, people with the following conditions or uncontrolled/unstable health symptoms will not be accepted on the scheme, angina, post cardiac surgery, arrhythmias, cardiac failure and valvular heart disease or poorly controlled mental illness, asthma and diabetes. However, someone with any of these conditions may be directed to some other referral programmes or activity programmes such as Cardiac Rehabilitation.

What Is The Process?
The process starts with your doctor or practice nurse. They will fill out a referral form, which has details of your health status and history. The details will then be passed onto an exercise referral scheme administrator, at which point they will arrange an appointment between you and the administrator or a scheme advisor.

They will run through the different exercise options that are available to you and you will be able to choose which sessions you will attend. The exercise on referral scheme normally lasts for a period of 12 weeks, after which you will meet with an exercise referral advisor, to discuss opportunities for you to continue your active lifestyle. Assessments are given during the course of the programme at the beginning, midway and at the end, to establish progress and deal with any challenges.

The Mind Coach
During the whole process you are given the necessary support to help you sustain your drive to exercise and embark on significant behavioural changes. A mind coach specialist will be selected to help you adapt your mindset.

A mind coach will help you overcome any behavioural psychological barriers which prevent you from reaching your health & fitness goals. They will help you recognise your impoverished thinking patterns, behaviours and habits, so that you can replace them with more helpful, resourceful ones. They will help you maintain your newly in-built motivation and to not only complete your 12-week programme but also have the momentum and desire to continue with your new lifestyle.

What Are The Benefits?
You will become more active and thus help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, keep you muscles and bones strong, prevent and manage your blood pressure, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels, and prevent and lower raised cholesterol levels. These are just a few of the many benefits you will receive from an exercise on referral scheme.