Digital tools that automate contact with patients can streamline the process of managing referrals and accelerate access to specialized care for patients, and Ninsaúde Apolo fits this need perfectly.

On paper, the process of referring a patient to another doctor might sound almost like writing a prescription, but in this case, for a second opinion, or a visit to a specialist. In reality, managing referrals is a logistical and patient experience challenge that requires streamlined care coordination from start to finish.

Before we continue, we need to ask: Do you already know our system Ninsaúde Apolo for health clinics? The health software Ninsaúde Apolo has an agile and complete schedule, personalized electronic medical records for each specialty, and with legal validity, teleconsultation, financial control, and much more. Schedule a demo or try the Ninsaúde Apolo clinic's software right now!

Referrals to other specialties are not uncommon. According to a 2018 report by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and National Patient Safety Foundation, nearly 100 million subspecialty referral requests are made from outpatient centers each year. In Brazil, it is estimated that 85% of cases that are referred to specialties could have been resolved in primary care.

Most healthcare organizations have staff to manage the referral, but there are many moving parts involved in this process. The primary care physician needs to notify the patient, and there are procedural hurdles that both the patient and provider need to resolve, for example, if the physician to whom the patient is being referred is covered by the patient's health plan. There is a lot of movement from point A to point B.

When this process is manual - that is, the patient, clinical, and subspecialty staff and insurers are only doing this verbally, this referral process can become challenging, which opens doors of opportunity for digitized referral management.

“A referral just fails and often goes unanswered until I'm the patient and I'm like, 'What happened to that referral?'” according to Starla Joyner, Director of Customer Engagement for TeleVox. “And then the patient has to start chasing that information.” Even if it is delivered on a sheet to the patient, with the name, contact, and address of the doctor he should go to, this paper can be lost and the patient is left without the information or has to run around to get it again.

Digital tools have the potential to simplify referral management for both the patient and clinics, making the process simpler and less costly. Using digitized communication, healthcare organizations can automate the process so that patients can more easily schedule their referrals. This is a huge benefit for clinical quality. Early detection of the disease is important for a good prognosis, and filling the gaps in care for which patients are referred helps organizations to provide quality and efficient care, leaving their patients more satisfied.

How to manage and use referrals with Ninsaúde Apolo

With the Ninsaúde Apolo software for clinics, you can register all the referrals in your clinic, that is, all the doctors and professional colleagues who refer patients to your clinic. And it also manages to leave referral models for you to pass on to your patient, either in print, digital, or even by email.

It works like this, both during patient scheduling and in the settings menu,  you and your secretary can register where a patient is coming from. Whether it is referred directly by another health professional or if they want to register the cases in which the patient saw some advertising from the clinic and sought it out directly. For example, the patient searched the internet and found your clinic's website, and decided to make an appointment. When scheduling, the secretary can save in the referral field that the patient came directly from the "site". You can choose to fill in just the name of the referral or get their contact information and address as well.

Ninsaúde Apolo - Registration of Referrals

Once registered, whenever a new patient is referred by the same health professional or location, just type the name of the referrer in the appointment and save.

When it is necessary to pull information about the referrals, the system has 5 reports that search for the information and cross them with the name of the forwarder, the name of the patient and his contact, and the number of referrals, among others. Within the service menu, when assisting the patient, the doctor can also see the forwarder information using the attendance cards.

Ninsaúde Apolo - Scheduling

The main reports are found in the Scheduling and Attendances menu, and contain the information:

  • Scheduling > Patient Report > Report Type > Contact Information > using the forwarder filter, bring up the patient's name, contact, address, the total number of appointments, date of last appointment, and status that came through a specific forwarder. In this report, using the report type filter, you can still choose between prospecting options, patients without e-mail, blocks, and groups of patients.
  • Scheduling > Other Reports > Forwarders, the system brings a list with the names of all registered forwarders, as well as their contact and address, and the total number of patients that each has referred to their clinic.
  • Attendances > Summary Information Report > Type of report > Forwarders by period. In this report, you can define periods to search forwarders, and between the status of only attended patients or all. In it, you will have the name of the referrer and the total number of patients indicated in the period.
  • Finance > Reports > Insurance Billing, here you can also filter by referral, and the report will cross the information on the date of the appointment, the health professional who performed the service, the name of the patient, the service, and the insurance used.

Within medical care, several Ninsaúde Apolo software tools speed up care and facilitate patient access to important documents, such as prescriptions, and in this case, documents for referral to other professionals.

During the service, the health professional can enable the print tab, which allows digital printing or sending various types of documents, including the request for the patient to be referred to another professional. After saving the referral template, the healthcare professional has three options, he can print and manually sign the document, or you can send it via WhatsApp or email to the patient, digitally signing the document.

The Ninsaúde Apolo system for clinics and medical offices also has the Apolo Sign tool, where both the health professional and the secretary can send documents to the patient, such as referral documents, budgets, declarations, instructions, etc, which can be digitally signed both by the clinic staff and also by the patient.

In the scheduling menu, there are two paths to send documents to the patient. Clicking on the patient's card and then reception, or going to the submenu of patients and clicking on the Apolo Sign tab. Once this is done, just add the new document, and at the end, you must add the patient's email and save it. Done, the recommendation for a new health professional will now be available in the patient's email.

Ninsaúde Apolo Sign

So, did you like the tips? Keep following the blog for more content like this. Are you a healthcare professional but still don't use management software? Get to know the system for Ninsaúde Apolo clinics.

Fonte: patientengagementhit