AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 17

Superior referral management offers a significant
opportunity for revenue growth at many touchpoints,
improving the patient's experience, the referring
doctor's experience, efficiency, and patient outcomes.
etrists' use of EHR, an EHR
system might still leave you on
an information island when it
comes to improving how you
manage and grow referrals. As a
result, faxing is still used extensively nationwide because systems
for exchanging communications
are incompatible.
Referral portal technology is
changing the game by making
communication more universal regardless of varying EHR or practice
management systems.
BENEFITS OF REFERRAL
MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY
One reason referral management
technology and referral portals
are beneficial is that they communicate independently of EHR
or HIE systems. This makes it
possible for your referring doctors
to communicate seamlessly with
your practice using a simple internet connection.
Another important reason for
the success of referral portals is
that their design is focused around
workflow, allowing referring
doctors to schedule referred patients
before they leave the office. All referrals are tracked by source. Secure
messaging allows any kind of information or imaging to be exchanged
between the referring provider and
the specialist.1 Reporting provides
real-time patient information to the
referring doctor.

Specifically,
Every referred patient is scheduled. None is lost. Staff doesn't
make a single call.
2. Patients go home with an appointment in hand, no longer
responsible for taking the next
step in their care.
3. Referring doctors "look good"
to patients because they are
empowered to take action on
the patient's behalf.
4. You know where all your referrals are coming from.
5. The referring doctor's experience improves because s/he has
clarity and monitors patients'
progress through the specialist's
care setting.
Every practice has a different
degree of sophistication when it
comes to referral management, and
technology is not a panacea for all
ills. A critical success factor with
referral portal technology, like all
information technology, is good staff
who can help accelerate adoption by
explaining to referring doctors how
the technology is to be used.
1.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Should you invest in staff or technology to grow your referral base?
Give thought to how much your
investment will move the needle.
How many more referrals will you
get if you add a dedicated business
development or referral coordinator
staff person? Will creating a new

VIP phone line to answer referring
doctors on the first ring pay for
itself? Investing in a referral technology platform will make it easier
for referring doctors to refer to you,
but how much will that increase
referrals? Each financial investment
will produce a return in the form
of additional surgical volume. Your
own unique market and practice
characteristics will determine what
growth is reasonable to forecast.
Considerations:
* Conversion rate. How many
more referred patients will now
be scheduled?
* Bigger piece of the pie. How
much more often will referring
doctors refer to you than they
have in the past? Will they start
sending you all their referrals?
* New referral sources. How many
new doctors (primary care diabetic referrals, optometric, etc.)
will start referring to you?
For illustration purposes, consider cataract referrals from optometrists, which will generally result in
surgery. Assume an initial cataract
consultation is worth $250 to your
practice with surgery being worth
$600/eye, and using an industryaverage2 15% conversion rate to
premium lens worth $2,000/eye.
By this analysis twenty additional
referrals over the course of the year
(about two per month) would be
worth $21,200; the average value
of each new additional cataract

www.asoa.org // AE

17


http://www.asoa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4

AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover1
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover2
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 1
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 2
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 3
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 4
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AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 19
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AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 27
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AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - 68
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover3
AE July/August 2018 Vol 27 No 4 - Cover4
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