Evaluation of specialist referrals at a rural health care clinic.

Published

Journal Article

Transition to a value-based care system involves reducing costs improving population health and enhancing the patient experience. Many rural hospitals must rely on specialist referrals because of a lack of an internal system of specialists on staff. This evaluation of the existing specialist referrals from primary care was conducted to better understand and improve the referral process and address costs, population health, and the patient experience.A 6-month retrospective chart review was conducted to evaluate quality and outcomes of specialty referrals submitted by 10 primary care providers. During a 6-month period in 2015, there was a total of 13,601 primary care patient visits and 3814 referrals, a referral rate of approximately 27%.The most striking result of this review was that nearly 50% of referred patients were not making the prescribed specialist appointment. Rather than finding a large number of unnecessary referrals, we found overall referral rates higher than expected, and a large percentage of our patients were not completing their referrals.The data and patterns emerging from this investigation would guide the development of referral protocols for a newly formed accountable care organization and lead to further quality improvement projects: a LEAN effort, dissemination of results to clinical and executive staff, protocols for orthopedic and neurosurgical referrals, and recommendations for future process improvements.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Biggerstaff, ME; Short, N

Published Date

  • July 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 410 - 414

PubMed ID

  • 28695714

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28695714

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2327-6924

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2327-6886

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/2327-6924.12480

Language

  • eng