Today’s healthcare executive has matured into a data-driven, tech-savvy leader who knows, and is comfortable with change. Most have cut their teeth on it. They have been forced to take up arms in the communication technology revolution and change how their health systems communicate, process, and talk to each other.
The rapid development of communication technology continues to redefine the way health systems work. Expectations of what e-communication can deliver today have changed significantly from what was even possible 10 years ago. Health systems need and can now have secure, data-rich, real-time, and interactive communication platforms that support collaboration and focused workflow.
E-mail, the system game-changer of 30 years ago has simply not kept pace. It is used in much the same way it was in the 80’s – click on a “Subject” line to view content and begin a back-and-forth volley of plain text and attachments; waiting for a response after each serve. Unable to provide real-time collaboration and data at the point of communication, healthcare executives are looking beyond e-mail or direct messaging functionality and spiking their way to the podium with asynchronous, dynamic, and efficient eReferral platforms. The lumbering qualities of a stand-alone, stolid, analog system like e-mail or direct messaging make it an also-ran in today’s quest for nimble health information systems.
Collaboration, Integration, and Interaction
Unlike e-mail, eReferral demands communication and intelligence. Its databank design invites a description of a patient’s symptoms and automatically pulls lab test results, for example, from an electronic medical record. It encourages collaboration and integration of information from a variety of sources into one exchange and stores a record of that communication sequence between Primary Care Physician, Hospital Clinician, specialist, post-acute community provider and other healthcare providers in one record. Furthermore, it offers intelligent navigational and decision-support tools that inform clinicians about the best transition options for a patient based upon the clinical profile, urgency, geographical preference and patient choice.
The delayed response that is inherent to e-mail is precisely what trips up the exchange of health information that is critical to improving referral workflows that result in shorter wait times and more satisfied patients. eReferral provides real value to this exchange because the integration of all information in real-time increases the quality of clinical workflows which translates to economic value. Better interaction and timely referral feedback, which eReferral facilitates and e-mail does not, support and educate clinicians for better patient triage and the elimination of unnecessary referrals to post-acute, specialty or community providers.
Features such as messaging and e-notification, waitlist management and real-time tracking and wait time information, integrated referral directories, access to complementary patient information such as insurance, for example, as well as unbiased specialist and provider search ability and referral put eReferral light years ahead of the traditional e-mail or direct messaging functions. Intelligent matching of patient to specialist or provider ensures optimal use of health system resources and a better patient journey experience. Most of all, eReferral is a secure, shared management system. It allows the healthcare executive real-time access to the big picture by freeing information that was once trapped within e-mails in the clinical domain.